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But Cartier set the tone for such tie-ins, and in many ways continues to do so — it is the only brand to run a vibrant exhibition space in the French capital, attracting 250,000 visitors annually.
“The foundation truly evolved when we moved to Paris,” says Chandès. That took place in 1995 when the foundation moved from Jouy-en-Josas to a remarkable glass building conceived by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel. “It’s hard to say how a space influences you,” says Chandès. “But this space influences us a lot.”
With its airy, light-filled exhibit halls and soaring glass walls, the foundation building seems a symbol of openness and transparency. Perhaps that’s why popular art works, including exhibitions by the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier about bread couture, seem to cohabit so well with esoteric themes, such as this spring’s presentation by American photographer William Eggleston, who was commissioned by the foundation to photograph Paris over a three-year period.