PARIS (FR) - Internationally renowned for its Marseilles pastis, created in 1932 by Paul Ricard, the Ricard company, 'guided by the innovative spirit of its founder, also wants to be at the cutting edge in the domain of cultural sponsorship'.
Located in the ultra-chic 'Golden Triangle' of Paris, the Fondation d'entreprise Ricard organizes eight contemporary art exhibitions every year, regularly granting carte blanche to young 'curators' for the group presentations. In mid-July 2008 it added the finishing touch to its new 400 m2 exhibition space, which opened in October 2007, and confirmed its commitment to young creative endeavour, when it inaugurated a lounge space conceived as a 20 m2 installation.
The ensemble was designed by architects Jakob+MacFarlane who point out that it 'is inspired by the values unique to the Fondation d'entreprise Ricard; that is to say, it strives to bring out the qualities of the artists' work by creating a separate world for them'. Once the necessary courtesies have been exchanged, one discovers the lounge and its bar nestled in a vast luminous box lined with honeycomb cells, forming a kind of beehive made entirely of curves. 'We wanted this meeting space to be yellow and luminous,' the architects comment. 'Its conceptual metaphor is the sun of the South, which is Ricard's logo. This cocoon thus has a living surface that breathes, creating an impression of calm and effervescence at the same time, similar to interaction and dialogue. It's an artificial sun. The light effects bounce around inside the space, which is coated in a yellow lacquered medium, with a constant 3000-lux light level delivered by 30 fluorescent light sources concealed behind yellow filters. The bar is in yellow plastic against a backdrop display of the various bottles and beverages of the brand.'
This autonomous work takes its place among the multipurpose volumes of the exhibition space, which is arranged around an inner courtyard. With its artificial sun decoration, the cocoon contrasts with the calm fluidity of the exhibition route lit by natural light, where only the exhibited works impose their rhythm. 'The Fondation d'entreprise Ricard is unique in being at once a site of exhibition and of exchange,' Jakob+MacFarlane explain, before concluding that it 'was imperative to bring in some humanity': the light of the sun! (Sophie Roulet)