Francois Pinault is a man justifiably envied by many. With a fortune of $8.7 billion the high-school dropout-turned luxury goods titan is the majority shareholder of PPR, whose brands include Gucci, Balenciaga, Yves Saint Laurent and Bottega Veneta. He also owns famed auction house Christie's and the renowned Chateau Latour winery. His amazing contemporary art collection, worth an estimated $1.4 billion, encompasses 2,000-plus works by over 80 artists including Jeff Koons, Richard Prince, Takashi Murakami and Damien Hirst. Much of it is now housed as his two incredible private museums in Venice, the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana. Both historic buildings were transformed by Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect Tadao Ando and are the subject of a smashing new book from Skira Rizzoli.
Tadao Ando: Venice - The Pinault Collection at the Palazzo Grassi and the Punta della Dogana shows how Ando's designs seamlessly blend history and innovation while adhering to the strict laws governing the preservation of historic buildings in Venice. At the Palazzo Grassi, prominently located on the Grand Canal, Ando's quiet but expert renovation of the eighteenth-century rooms makes a perfect backdrop for Jeff Koons' eye-popping balloon sculptures. At the Punta della Dogana (shown on the cover above), the Venetian Republic's original customs warehouse, the large-scale space was subtly subdivided into refined rooms for installation art. The "dialogue – that is collision and friction – between the new and the old," Ando states, "is the driving force in creating a city's future."