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<span class="chapeau">Kering and Balenciaga installed their headquarters in the former Laennec hospital, an exceptional historic complex located at the center of Paris. As part of an initiative of François-Henri Pinault to mark the inauguration of the new site, on the occasion of the 2016 European Heritage Days, a selection of works from the Pinault Collection was presented to the public in the chapel of the ancient hospital.</span>
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<span class="alinea"></span>In 1634, Cardinal François de la Rochefoucauld, counselor to Henri IV then chaplain to Louis XIII, financed the construction, on the rue de Sèvres, of a hospice dedicated to the care of destitute patients with incurable diseases. In 1878, the establishment was named after René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laennec, a doctor from Brittany who invented the stethoscope in the early nineteenth century. The architectural complex consists of a series of austere buildings organized in a cross around a central chapel, interspersed by courtyards and internal cloisters. It served as an inspiration for the design of the great Parisian hospices built during the eighteenth century, including the Pitié Salpêtrière (Libéral Bruand, 1660–63) and the Invalides (Libéral Bruand and Jules Hardouin-Mansart, 1670–79). In 2000, the Laennec hospital’s services were transferred to the new Georges-Pompidou hospital.
<span class="alinea"></span>On this occasion, Kering decided to move its headquarters to this location, engaging an ambitious restoration project directed by Benjamin Mouton, chief architect of French National Heritage. While Frédéric Druot’s interior plans are resolutely modern, the tile roof of the buildings was restored to its original condition; the 14,000 square meters of gardens, courtyards, and cloisters were replanted with yew trees, lavender, and fruit trees selected by landscape architect Philippe Raguin.
<span class="alinea"></span>At the heart of the complex is the chapel, consecrated in 1640. It includes the “Bossuet” pulpit, a painting of a <i>Guardian Angel</i> by Philippe de Champaigne, and the tombs of several renowned historic figures: the Cardinal de la Rochefoucauld, the bishop of Belley Jean-Pierre Camus, and four members of the Turgot family, including the statesman and minister of Louis XVI, Anne Robert Jacques Turgot. Selected specifically for their special resonance with masterpieces of religious art, six contemporary works from the Pinault Collection were presented in the chapel as part of the exhibition “Echoes,” curated by Jean-Jacques Aillagon, and designed by the Atelier Frédéric Casanova: a group of four crucifixions by Adel Abdessemed, Maurizio Cattelan’s nine marble sculptures of recumbent bodies, a diptych by Marlene Dumas, depictions of the Last Supper by Hiroshi Sugimoto and Andres Serrano, and finally, five portraits of religious dignitaries by Y.Z. Kami.