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Sam Baron for the Louvre

A new range of memorabilia has been designed by Sam Baron on the occasion of the 100th birthday of the Louvre pyramid architect, IM Pei.

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Text by Nadine Botha
Photography by Diogo Alves, Courtesy of Sam Baron & Co

When Chinese-American architect Ieoh Ming Pei completed his modernist glass and steel pyramids in the French Renaissance-style courtyard of the Louvre museum, it was not greeted with the enthusiasm it evokes in tourists today. Commissioned by then-president Francois Mitterrand in 1984, the building sparked years of political and cultural debate.

“I received many angry glances in the streets of Paris,” admitted Pei to The Telegraph. “After the Louvre I thought no project would be too difficult”. The pyramid form references a makeshift monument erected during the French Revolution, but the real genius is the logistical solution of connecting the three wings of the massive museum with underground walkways. Opening in 1989 to cater for 2-million visitors per year, the Louvre now welcomes almost 10-million visitors a year, and in 2014, set about renovating and expanding its now beloved pyramid.

Celebrating the reopening in 2016 and Pei’s 100th birthday on April 23, 2017, French designer Sam Baron was commissioned to create a range of museum memorobilia. By inverting the pyramid into the museum, Baron’s has created a vibrant geometric motif. This has been applied to range of desktop accessories from the usual notebooks and paper weights to more contemporary essentials like smartphone power banks and cases. Afterall, who wants to arrive at the Mona Lisa with a flat battery?

In the words of Pei: “Architecture is the very mirror of life. You only have to cast your eyes on buildings to feel the presence of the past, the spirit of a place; they are the reflection of society.”


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