Fondation Louis Vuitton ©Hufton+Crow
Fondation Louis Vuitton – Paris, France

Curved glass casts off

The Louis Vuitton Foundation is known as Paris’ giant glass vessel. Some 3,500 rectangular safety glass panes with a total area of 13,500sqm manufactured by sunglass industry form the glass “canvas” of the 12 inflated sails. Each glass pane is unique and made to measure. A racing yacht was the model for the expressive glass shell of this French museum designed by architect Frank O. Gehry.

sunglass industry was chosen because the usual manufacturing method for curved glass was too expensive. sunglass industry offered a tailor-made manufacturing process to produce tempered cylindrical glass panels with the highest quality. To do that, one furnace was modified for cylindrical bending with two different radii and tempering at the same time.

Within one year, 3,500 elements with dimensions of 3 x 1.5m were curved to fit into the orthogonal, geodetic grid. The 6mm and 8mm panes were laminated for safety and partially screen-printed to control solar gains, as the requirement was limited solar control and a semi-transparent external effect.



Frank O. Gehry


3,500 glass panels (13,500 sqm)
- Safety glass / double curvature
- Max. size 3 x 1.5 m
- 16 mm, laminated, printed, coated, SGP
- Radius up to 3m; curvature from -90° to 90°


Photo credits: ©Hufton+Crow