Once upon a time, in 2007, Karl Lagerfeld commissioned a Chanel exhibition centred around that bag. The exhibition proved the iconic ‘2.55’ quilted Chanel bag to not only be a hit with fashionistas and celebrities, but apparently artists too. 20 of them – international, contemporary artists that is – were so inspired by the bag that they were selected to have their unique visions showcased in the exhibition. Now, this wasn’t just any old exhibition, it was one that managed to be displayed in the same exhibition space no matter what country it was in… What? Is this a some kind of riddle or some wild feat of Derren Brown? Oh no, it is simply a giant collapsible container, being used as an exhibition space. And by collapsible container, I mean, after each stint in a country it is literally dismantled and shipped to it’s next port of call.
Iraqi born British architect, Zaha Hadid is the brains behind this futuristic and spaceship-like creation. What I love most about the project is not the container itself, nor the Chanel exhibition inside it (although that does sound amazing), but the fact that the exhibition and its container are not mutually exclusive, rather the two together are a work of art.
It has toured the globe for 4 years as one giant metaphor for the way fashion spreads throughout the world, and after visiting Hong Kong, Tokyo and New York, the Contemporary Art Container has come to rest in Paris outside the doors of the the Arab World Institute. Karl has kindly donated the container to the institute who have now inaugurated a new exhibition – ‘Une Architecture’ that celebrates the work of its designer, Zaha, through a series of models, prototypes, sculptures, paintings and projections. The container will be in Paris until October 30th this year.