LVMH to re-enlist Frank Gehry for applied arts centre

(From L) Canadian-American architect Frank Gehry, CEO of LVMH Bernard Arnault, French president Francois Hollande, Paris' mayor Anne Hidalgo look at a scale model during a press conference to unveil a new museum in Paris, on March 8, 2017

LVMH will tap architect Frank Gehry once again to create a centre for applied arts beside his Louis Vuitton Foundation, the luxury group and the City of Paris announced Wednesday.

The celebrated Canadian-American architect, 88, will be tasked with renovating and transforming a disused museum located a stone's throw from the futuristic Foundation he built on the western edge of Paris in the Bois de Boulogne.

"The new centre will be dedicated to artists, live performances and to the applied arts and French savoir-faire," the joint statement said.

The eight-storey building designed in the 1970s by architect Jean Dubuisson, which housed a museum of folk art and traditions, has been closed since 2005.

The new centre, to be called the Maison LVMH - Arts, Talents, Patrimoine (Heritage), will be created at an estimated cost of 158 million euros ($167 million) -- including between 50 million and 80 million euros for asbestos removal.

The project "sends a powerful message to young generations: artisanal craftsmanship offers tremendous potential and opportunities that we encourage them to discover and seize,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said in the statement.

President Francois Hollande attended Wednesday's news conference announcing the project, along with Hidalgo, Gehry and LVMH Group CEO Bernard Arnault.

The centre will include two halls for concerts, exhibitions and workshops, and a panoramic restaurant on the top floor.

The project will be developed in "close collaboration with the heirs of Jean Dubuisson," the statement said, noting that Dubuisson's grandson Thomas, also an architect, has worked for Gehry at his Los Angeles base.