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Posted December 14, 2009

Atelier Jouvence Puts its Mark on the Art Institute's Modern Wing

Perhaps one of the biggest cultural landmarks of 2009 was the opening of Renzo Piano’s Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago. Near the center of Grant Park and directly facing off against Frank Gehry’s Pritzker Pavilion, the Modern Wing is very hard to miss. While there has been much debate about the particulars of its architectural design and the not-entirely-modern collection it houses, no one in Chicago can deny that it’s one of the most significant new buildings to appear in downtown Chicago over the past decade. So imagine the pressure you might feel if you were invited to engrave the building’s name into the exterior stone wall — after the Wing opened and was already a very public (and popular) attraction!

That’s exactly what happened to our client Olivier Dumont, the French master carver who, with his wife and partner Sonia Dumont, runs Atelier Jouvence Custom Stoneworks. Dumont had the distinct pleasure of working 75 feet above street level in a 100-foot aerial lift, chiseling letters by hand into the pristine stone wall, amidst the chill winds of September and October.

You can read more about the project and Dumont’s profession in this December 9 Chicago Tribune profile. While Dumont certainly has the experience and expertise required for this prominent commission, we’re guessing he’s happy to take a break from such high-flying (and high-pressure) work, and return to creating the limestone mantels and range hoods for which Atelier Jouvence is most well known.