Renzo Piano’s at it Again: Pathé Foundation Nearly Complete

Brigette Brown Brigette Brown

It looks like Renzo Piano is blowing gorgeous glass bubbles again for the sake of film preservation and space renovation. And, much like his more recent museum projects, Piano’s design for the Pathé Foundation combines preservation, demolition, and new construction all in one go.

Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé was once the largest film equipment and production company in the world, but it now serves as a platform for promoting film and Pathé history and heritage. The screened-glass, bulbous structure is hidden from view behind a historic façade, but peeks out over the top, announcing its presence.

Image via designboom, photo by Michel Denancé

Image via designboom, photo by Michel Denancé

Though the egg-like structure appears to be squeezed between the surrounding buildings in the middle of the block, ready to burst, it in fact has enough breathing room around it to even allow the neighbors some daylight and ventilation. The new program includes exhibition spaces, a 70-person film screening room, Pathé Foundation offices, and archives.

Image via designboom, photo by Michel Denancé

Image via designboom, photo by Michel Denancé

As construction nears completion, it will be fascinating to see how the space functions, not only as an homage to Pathé, but also a site for viewing and experiencing cinema. The heart of the building has changed, but perhaps, the infill won’t distract from the foundation’s purpose and place in Paris.

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