True colours: artist Daniel Buren’s kaleidoscopic takeover at Paris’ Le Bristol hotel

True colours: artist Daniel Buren’s kaleidoscopic takeover at Paris’ Le Bristol hotel

For nearly a century, Le Bristol has been an institution along Paris’s fabled rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. From a marketing perspective though, the challenge has always been finding novel but authentic ways to keep up with the French capital’s glittering haul of palais hotels. In a very real sense, Le Bristol’s absorption into the Oetker Collection in 1978 has been a particular lifeline – the group has been an enthusiastic promoter of fashion functions, literary charity events and gastronomic celebrations that lure appreciative members of Paris’s jeunesse d’oreé. 

Something of an insider’s secret has been Le Bristol’s staging of sculptural exhibitions in its manicured gardens, not least Ai Weiwei, Anish Kapoor and Xavier Veillan. To kick off the summer programme, Hicham Berrada has taken over Le Bar du Bristol with a film installation.

However, the marquee event is probably headlined by the French conceptual artist Daniel Buren who is currently staging his much anticipated return to Le Bristol in the garden right outside the 3 Michelin-starred Epicure. The occasion is a tasty appetiser to Buren’s turn at the Fondation Louis Vuitton where the 78-year old has swathed Frank Gehry’s sails with nearly 4000 pieces of coloured glass, transforming the gallery into an intoxicating sequence of billowing stained glass. 

For Le Bristol’s site-specific installation, Buren is working on an altogether smaller, but no less effective, scale. ‘Une Pause Coloreé’ is exactly that – a kaleidoscopic interlude of rainbow hues folded around a sheltered walkway that is book-ended by open-toped dodecagon conservatories. 

Of course, the Le Bristol work has antecedents, most notably in ‘Pergola’ for Hôtel de la Monnaie in 2009, and ‘La Pergola pour Trois Couleurs’ at Place Francois Mitterand, Joué-les-Tours. However, when staged against Le Bristol’s all-white façade and leafy greens, the effect of the coloured shades shifting through the day is singularly striking for their exuberant dappled effect. 

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