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Gehry unveils design for new Paris museum

Canadian architect Frank Gehry has designed a new museum in Paris to be called the Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation.

Canadian architect Frank Gehry has designed a new museum in Paris to be called the Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation.

Funded by French tycoon Bernard Arnault, chairman of luxury goods retailer LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the museum is meant to show art that has influenced fashion designers from Christian Dior to Marc Jacobs.

The Louis Vuitton museum will be a glass-clad building soaring over the trees in the Bois de Boulogne park on the western edge of Paris.

"The idea of building a solid, strong and formal object appeared inappropriate to me in this green," Gehry said after unveiling a model ofthe design in Paris on Monday.

The Toronto-raised Gehry, who now works out of the U.S., told reporters he "wanted to cry with happiness" at winning the commission forthe new 100-million euro ($142-million Cdn)museum.

"As I experienced the world, Paris became my favourite city," said Gehry, 77.

"So when a man who leads in fashion, who collects art that I love, invited me to Paris to do a building, it was a heavenly assignment."

Star architect

Gehry designed the titanium-clad Guggenheim museum in Bilbao, Spain, and the Walt Disney concert hall in Los Angeles.

His renovation of Toronto's Art Gallery of Ontario is under construction.

Gehry is astar architect and hisdesign could attract as many people as the contents of the museum.

Arnault wants construction on the new museum to start next year and end before 2010.

"The goal of this foundation is to spread the influence of culture, and the influence of France," said Arnault, who frequently sponsors art exhibits in Paris.

The collection destined for the museum contains works by Picasso, Mark Rothko, Damien Hirst, Jean Dubuffet and other artists, but the museum will also hold an exhibit about the history of LVMH.

Arnault's business rival Francois Pinault, owner of the Gucci Group and Christie's auction house, attempted to build a modern art museum in Paris, but failed to get permission to work on the site he'd chosen on an island in the River Seine.

He has since opened a museum in Venice.

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