Paris, France – This year marks the 30th anniversary of the inauguration The Louvre Pyramid. Inaugurated on March 29, 1989, the glass pyramid was designed by the late American-Chinese architect Ming Pei, who passed away this May 16, 2019. The design of the glass pyramid was at first a subject of significant controversy, with widespread criticism directed at Ming Pei’s bold vision for the historic building; a vision which took the Louvre Museum into the modern era.
The “Grand Louvre” project, which was first announced in September 1981 by the French President François Mitterrand, was designed to develop the museum further. The ambitious project aimed to redesign the visitors’ reception hall, and multiple other areas for artworks presentation, while allowing for the expansion of exhibition space by two-fold. Ming Pei was appointed the Head Architect in 1983. He designed an underground reception area in the shape of a pyramid, which allowed for direct access to the museum’s three wings. Further conceptualization of his ideas led to new exhibition spaces, an auditorium, bookstores, shopping areas, restaurants, and the Carrousel garden. During the construction, archeological diggings in the Cour Napoléon and the Cour Carrée led to the discovery of the Louvre’s medieval foundations which date back to the reign of Philippe Auguste. This archaeological project led to the creation of the French National Institute for Preventive Archeological Research (Inrap). Upon the inauguration of The Pyramid, it did not take long for it to be recognized as a masterpiece, and as one of the most iconic landmarks of Paris symbolic of the museum.
The Louvre Museum attracts millions of visitors to Paris every year, with a record-breaking 10.2 million people visiting in 2018 – all of them walking in through the gates of The Louvre Pyramid. The construction of this monument is a highlight in the history of The Louvre, and a set of celebratory events, exhibitions and conferences will be held at the museum throughout 2019 to celebrate its 30th anniversary. – GM