Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition

Architects and designers reimagine Louis Vuitton's iconic luggage for 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition

Architects Frank Gehry and Sou Fujimoto are among the designers who have reimagined the iconic Louis Vuitton trunk to celebrate the fashion house founder's 200th birthday.

The trunks, which are currently on display in Los Angeles, have been compiled into a travelling exhibition named 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries.

Striped building on corner of North Rodeo Drive in Los Angeles
The 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition is on display in a striped building in Los Angeles

The trunks were designed in recognition of Louis Vuitton's 200th birthday and started their journey earlier this year on exhibition in Asnières at the Vuitton family house before moving on to Singapore.

Now on display in Los Angeles, the works occupy a building on North Rodeo Drive near the company's flagship store in Beverly Hills. The building echoes an early Louis Vuitton trunk motif, with colourful stripes decorating the white facade.

Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition
The works are arranged across several rooms including spaces dedicated to individual designers such as Frank Gehry

"The project unfolded as part of the celebrations around the 200th birthday of Louis Vuitton," said Louis Vuitton visual director Faye McLeod. "Louis's lasting legacy is the trunk – the flat-top, canvas trunk that he designed – and so it seemed the evident medium to work with."

"From there, the idea progressed to collaborate with 200 visionaries who would design their own trunk– a vast, visual tribute to creativity and to the man behind the Maison," she continued.

"These were then displayed in our global store windows, before being regrouped for 200 Trunks, 200 Visionaries: The Exhibition."

In tribute to Louis's legacy of innovation, the fashion house chose figures fuelling innovation in their fields to reimagine the emblematic trunk. The selected artists span fields ranging from art and culture to science and sports.

Lego's design for Louis Vuitton's 200th birthday
Lego designed its trunk in collaboration with children to celebrate the creativity of young minds

Each design is approximately 50 x 50 x 100 centimetres to match the dimensions of Louis' original trunk from the 1850s.

The current exhibition has been adapted to reflect the spirit of the local area, with exhibition rooms dedicated to Robert Moy's Brooklyn Balloon Company and Gehry.

Trunk made from gold glass bricks on black platform in red room for Louis Vuitton exhibition
Jean-Michel Othonel made his India-themed trunk from glass bricks

Visitors enter the exhibition through a configuration of trunks leading to the Briefing Room which contains a trunk panelled with digital screens.

Beyond this are two main warehouse-like spaces containing a mixture of the original trunks and additional screen-panelled trunks, in an arrangement that the design studio labels "staggered yet vaguely sculptural".

Robert Moy Brooklyn Balloon Company balloon filled room with trunk for Louis Vuitton exhibition
The balloons coating Robert Moy's trunk are repeated on the walls of the display room

An immersive balloon-filled room by Robert Moy's Brooklyn Balloon Company features a colourful epoxy and painted balloon trunk.

A set of striped stairs lined with two-dimensional artworks leads to a space containing the remaining trunks. The room, named the Dreamscape, displays the trunks against a vivid backdrop.

Colourful tea party designed by Frank Gehry for LV trunk exhibition
Gehry's design depicts a tea party in celebration of Louis 200

An additional installation by architect Gehry sits in this space, designed to resemble a tea party celebrating Louis Vuitton's birthday.

Japanese architect Fujimoto's minimalistic trunk was designed to reflect the architect's House N, with rectangular shapes that reflect the openings in the house aiming to comment on the simplicity of the LV brand.

Sou Fujimoto's white trunk with beige squares for LV200
Sou Fujimoto designed a trunk informed by House N

"The Louis Vuitton trunk is reimagined as a piece of architecture inspired by House N," said Fujimoto. "The simple volume of the trunk has been resurfaced to create an impression of interiority."

"By applying a white surface and leaving only a few 'openings' the previously simple and flat box achieves depth and volume," Fujimoto continued. "This manipulated object is a celebration of the ability of the Louis Vuitton brand to transform simple volumes into icons."

Houdini-themed trunk by Peter Marino for LV exhibition
A black trunk wrapped in leather straps was based on Houdini's trunk escape

A black trunk by architect Peter Marino is bound in tightly fitting leather straps, calling upon Houdini's 1912 underwater trunk escape.

"I set out to create a trunk that even Harry Houdini could not get out of," said Marino. "In 1912, Houdini performed his underwater trunk escape. It only took Houdini two and a half minutes to free himself and surface from the trunk."

"Houdini was able to perform his stunt by shifting a panel over, opening up the trunk enough to escape," he continued. "We designed the trunk with tight-fitting leather straps in order to avoid any chance of shifting panels over to allow for the stunt escape."

Box coated in travel stickers designed for Louis Vuitton trunk exhibition by Hannes Peer
Hannes Peer covered his trunk in stickers from across the globe

Hannes Peer's trunk is covered in a collage of travel stickers.

"Since I was a child I have been intrigued by travel stickers on suitcases, the variety of their geographic origins, the sheer arbitrariness of their positioning and their peaceful proximity in which they remain during the lifetime of the suitcase they belong to," said Peer.

"These wonderful travel–sticker creatures quietly and admiringly accept every newcomer, every new sticky travel companion from all over the world," he continued.

"Almost anything is possible in the lifetime of a travel sticker, basically it needs to adapt to all situations, be calm and respectful, stick as much as possible to its suitcase and be almost glued to its travel companions."

Jukebox designed by Benji B exhibited in dark red-panelled room
A trunk by Benji B plays a curated track loop on the main level of the exhibition

Back on the main level, an audio speakeasy presents a 200-track jukebox trunk by British DJ and producer Benji B. An upper terrace offers seating areas for visitors while a lifestyle arrear presents video interviews and a selection of books.

Other names chosen to personalise the trunk include Supreme, Lego, Alex Israel, and Fornasetti.

The photography is by BFA courtesy of Louis Vuitton.

200 Trunks 200 Visionaries takes place from 29 July to 6 September 2022. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

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Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition
Louis Vuitton 200 Trunks 200 Visionaries exhibition