Peter Marino, The Simpsons, BTS, Frank Gehry, Fornasetti, Cao Fei and Lego… When it seems impossible to dream of a bespoke project that can bring together 200 heavyweights from across a wide range of disciplines from architecture to the sciences to pop culture, Louis Vuitton demonstrates how to pull off such a feat.
The 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition — which opens in Singapore today, April 4 — is the latest tribute to the maison’s brilliant and enigmatic founder, following a series of celebrations last year to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Louis Vuitton’s birthday on Aug 4, 1821.
The large-scale travelling exhibition debuted last December at the trunkmaker’s historic family home in Asnières, a town just northwest of Paris, which is also the site of its heritage trunkmaking ateliers and a gallery space, before making its second stop in Singapore this month. Perfect timing, considering that the Malaysia-Singapore land border is now open and we can easily drive over anytime now to check it out. In a nod to Vuitton’s bicentennial birthday, the presentation showcases a stupendous trunk design collaboration with 200 global creatives.
On show in Singapore from April 4 to 27, it will take up residence on the esplanade adjacent to Louis Vuitton’s Marina Bay Sands boutique. Featuring a Damier façade alternating with windows, the streamlined structure conveys the maison’s signature graphic while “Louis 200” is emblazoned across the roof and visible to one and all in the skyscrapers surrounding the iconic Marina Bay.
Faye McLeod, Louis Vuitton’s visual image director, says, “This project has always been about creativity – a real tribute to Louis’s ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit. We get to see how such a cross-section of talents answered the same brief while also taking a moment to appreciate the man himself.”
And what a treat it will be for visitors – to marvel up close at the trunks of each of the 200 visionaries, all either respected talents or friends of the house. They were given a metaphorical blank canvas measuring 50 by 50 by 100 cm, approximately the dimensions of the original trunk that Louis Vuitton himself conceived in the 1850s. Taking the founder’s innovative legacy as the source of inspiration, they created highly personal expressions that, as physical trunks or digital clips, convey their dreams, desires, concepts and interpretations.
In Singapore, the experience begins in a briefing room panelled with LED screens. The first main space evokes a warehouse, where original art pieces are juxtaposed with screen-panelled Magic Trunks and a robot-trunk – Monsieur Louis – representing a futuristic transfiguration of the object and creator.
Staggered at various heights as random configurations, the physical trunks are stacked upon their assigned shipping crates in which they will continue their global journey, in keeping with the maison’s circular creativity efforts.
Before the circuit ends, guests enter an open dreamscape panorama with two dedicated rooms: First, an interactive space featuring the trunk by BTS, with each side showcasing the drawings of each member of the pop group. These designs have been reproduced on the walls with space for visitors to add their own creations.
The final stop is an audio speakeasy that features a functioning 200-track jukebox trunk by British DJ and producer Benji B. Before leaving, visitors can spend time in a lifestyle area to watch video interviews and browse books.
Beyond art and heritage, the wider LV200 project is a fully philanthropic undertaking on a grand scale. The first phase raised €2 million from the visionaries who directed 100 per cent of their fees to one of 15 charitable organisations across 13 countries, selected by the house for their focus on uplifting young people through creative endeavours. Details of the second phase are to be announced in due course. Both phases of LV200 will support young and talented creatives in need of financial support as they continue their learning journey and careers.
Discover the 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition at Louis 200 or visit here to register for the Singapore show. This free public event runs from Apr 4 to 27. Its opening hours are 6 to 10pm on the first day, and 10am to 10pm on the rest of the dates.
This story first appeared on Prestige Singapore
Yanni Tan began her journalistic career as a rookie reporter at a local newspaper, covering lifestyle, crime and education. She has since chalked up 20 years of writing and editing experience at a variety of women’s and luxury magazines, mainly in the features, travel, and watches and jewellery beats. She currently oversees both the print and digital editions of Prestige Singapore magazine, and has a keen interest in luxury lifestyle, environmental conservation, private wealth and corporate leadership.