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Inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night and the region’s picturesque geography, Gehry’s 49,000 square-feet glimmering geometric structure is executed with 11,000 stainless steel panels that capture the natural light and modular windows twisting from the building’s surface. With exteriors reminiscent of the movement captured in Van Gogh’s iconic painting, the interiors include project spaces, exhibition galleries, seminar rooms, and the foundation’s research and archive facilities.
“There is one driving-metaphor for LUMA at the Parc des Ateliers: that of a living organism,” said the founder of LUMA Foundation, Maja Hoffmann. “As such the balance between form and function determines its viability. It is about composing a polyphonic score where everything is ordered, yet where everything is possible.”
At the direction of Hoffmann, the Arles project has been underway since 2008. In addition to Gehry’s main structure, the expansive campus also features a suite of former railway factories, repurposed by Selldorf Architects to serve as performance and exhibition spaces, as well as a public park and gardens that are the work of the landscape architect Bas Smets.