© Lafayette Anticipations / Photography: Delfino Sisto Legnani + Marco Cappelletti

The worlds of luxury brands and contemporary art have long been intertwined in a continuous flirtation, and nowhere else is this more evident than in the City of Light. home to the planet’s most influential luxury conglomerates, brands, and a slew of creative professionals that dictate what’s next, Paris is a lab where great innovations take shape, and often in prestigious forms. As one of the city’s biggest draws in the retail landscape, department store Galeries Lafayette has always affiliated itself with art and design – mind you, there has been an exhibition gallery right on the premises of its flagship in Paris for many years – but the retailer has now pushed the envelope by opening Lafayette Anticipations in the Marais district.

The venue was concepted by Guillaume Houzé, the visionary communications and image director at Galeries Lafayette, and aims to serve as a multidisciplinary centre which supports contemporary creation across all disciplines, ranging from art to design to fashion. Not surprisingly, France has advantageous tax regulations, making this fondation d’entreprise the very latest in a string of other prestigious ventures that has emerged over the years. Companies are able to deduct as much as 60% of the costs for art venues, and even up to a maximum of 0.5% of their annual revenue. Lafayette Anticipations occupies a late 19th century warehouse of BHV – a rivalling retail company that was snapped up by Galeries Lafayette in 1991 – which initially was to be demolished.

As new architecture preservation laws prohibited the plan, it was eventually abandoned, and it’s here where Rem Koolhaas of Rotterdam-based architecture practice OMA steps into the picture. the industrial complex consists of three structures that collectively have a U-shape. The acclaimed Dutch architect has situated a glass tower with motorized floors in the courtyard, allowing an endless range of floor configurations. when aligned with the building’s original floors, it provides additional space. the building has a total surface area of 2,200 sqm. (23,681 sq.ft), including 875 sqm. (9,418 sq.ft.) dedicated to rotating exhibitions and other events, and an entire floor that accommodates a full-fledged workshop for artists.

The space isn’t accessible to all as it exclusively welcomes creatives who aim for the next level and have the ability to provide a reflection of of themselves and current times along the way. Lafayette Anticipations works closely together with a purchase fund to build its collection, and has kicked off its operations with a generous donation of approx. 300 artworks by Ginette Moulin, chairman of the Galeries Lafayette empire, and who as it happens, also is Houzé’s grandmother. The inaugural show by the elusive american artist Lutz Bacher, entitled The Silence of the Sea, presents works that have been conceived specifically for the renovated building. Location: Lafayette Anticipations, 9 rue du Plâtre (Marais).

© Lafayette Anticipations / Photography: Delfino Sisto Legnani + Marco Cappelletti