The art of travel

Published January 3, 2022, 3:59 AM

by Manila Bulletin

Louis Vuitton unveils ‘200 Trunks 200 Visionaries: The Exhibition’ at the family house in Asnières outside of Paris, ahead of a global journey

The imaginative trunks realized by 200 visionaries to celebrate Louis Vuitton’s bicentennial birthday will now appear together for the first time as a traveling exhibition. From the windows in which they appeared on video loop since August to a global journey beginning at Louis’s home in Asnières, west of Paris, in early December, this collective homage will touch down in New York, Tokyo, London, and beyond. The final stop of the tour will take place as an auction by Sotheby’s in December 2022, with all proceeds funding a scholarship program established by Louis Vuitton.

The exhibition offers a stage for the visionaries’ trunks to be viewed as a vast and dynamic tribute to Louis’s innovative legacy. As one of the initiatives to mark the milestone date of Aug. 4, 2021, a mosaic of talents and friends of the House—spanning arts and culture, the sciences, sports, global causes and more—were invited to personalize the emblematic trunk. Such talents included Jean-Michel Othoniel, Jean-Philippe Delhomme, Nigo, and BTS. A metaphorical blank canvas measuring 50 x 50 x 100 centimeters, approximately the dimensions of the original trunk that Louis conceived in the 1850s, yielded 200 extraordinary transformations: vessels transmitting dreams and desires, abstract concepts, and artistic expressions.

Establishing a veritable link back to Louis’s life, the experience begins with a rare opportunity to enter through his house. Guided up the stairs to the first floor, visitors will pass from this historic building across an elevated walkway, from which visitors can admire the exceptional architecture of the 19th century.

The arrival plays out within an optic briefing room that showcases a single trunk surrounded by LED screens with a Damier carpet underfoot. Here, the past catches up to the present so that when visitors enter the first gallery, the trunks seemingly represent a bridge from time into space. Staggered at various heights as random configurations, the creations are stacked upon real crates, which will be used to carry the trunks each time the exhibition travels.

As the visionaries developed their ideas in both physical and digital formats, the exhibition will feature a corresponding mix of the original art pieces and the screen-panelled “Magic boxes.” Amid this panorama will be the robot-trunk, Monsieur Louis, a futuristic transfiguration of object and creator. Visitors can then descend to the ground level where the display continues as a vivid dreamscape punctuated with the remaining trunks, additional animations, and immersive spaces. These include a lifestyle area to watch video interviews and browse books. Those who follow the sounds of music will locate the hidden entrance to an audio speakeasy dedicated to the functioning jukebox trunk by British DJ and producer Benji B. With 200 titles on rotation, visitors can embrace the upbeat vibe as an extension of the visual experience.

After the exhibition concludes in Paris, it will head to New York in February 2022 and onward to new destinations every few months.

 “This project has always been about creativity—a real tribute to Louis’s ingenuity and entrepreneurial spirit,” say Faye McLeod, Louis Vuitton’s visual image director. “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.”


 “The windows were about focusing on each unique interpretation. Now, by presenting the trunks together, the magic of the concept really comes through,” adds Ansel Thompson, art director.

From the auction at Sotheby’s, the sale of all trunks and LV200 collateral, such as books, will fund the creation of a scholarship program to bridge inequality gaps throughout different creative fields.

The LV200 project remains a fully philanthropic undertaking, an enduring gift on a grand scale. The first phase raised €2 million from the visionaries who directed 100 percent of their fees to one of 15 charitable organizations across 13 countries, selected for their focus on uplifting young people through their creative endeavors. From the auction at Sotheby’s, the sale of all trunks and LV200 collateral, such as books, will fund the creation of a scholarship program to bridge inequality gaps throughout different creative fields, with the aim of ensuring access to artistic studies and development regardless of financial means. Ultimately, both phases of LV200 will be supporting young and talented creatives as they continue their learning journey and careers.

The exhibition is ongoing until Jan. 6, 2022 at 16 rue Louis Vuitton in Asnières in Paris.