Where Culture Meets Science: Rethinking Genetics at the Château de Versailles

Where Culture Meets Science: Rethinking Genetics at the Château de Versailles

We live in extraordinary times. In the coming decades, curing genetic illnesses in children may move within reach for the first time in human history. Yet how far this revolution in genetics and science can take us, and what we need to get there, are not easily accessible to the non-specialist.

To jointly “rethink genetics,” Lombard Odier welcomed 120 guests in Paris at the inspiring setting of Château de Versailles on September 18, 2017, at an event juxtaposing culture and science.

The evening kicked off with a private visit of the Royal Chapel, offering the opportunity to enjoy pieces dating back to the period of Louis XIV, performed on the Chapel’s organ for Lombard Odier’s guests.

With his opening keynote, Prof. Arnold Munnich shifted the focus from culture to science.

Founder of world-renowned Imagine Institute at Necker Hospital in Paris, the leader in his field and recipient of France’s Grand Prix INSERM of Medical Research set the stage for a passionate, interactive discussion: what is the promise of genetics? What are the boundaries of knowledge? What is needed to keep expanding them? All questions were first considered by the members of a high-level panel, and then discussed over dinner.

Entertaining a topic that is core to the future of humanity in the historical setting of Château de Versailles proved a magic formula: the yin and yang of looking back to look ahead inspired our guests to learn, exchange and aspire.

At Lombard Odier, we are proud of our special relationship with Versailles. Via Fondation Philanthropia, we have lent support to projects that will ensure that the heritage of Versailles will remain accessible and “fresh” for future generations. Among the most inspiring is the complete restoration of the Latona Fountain and Parterre at the Château de Versailles, financed by Philanthropia.

The Latona fountain resulted from Louis XIV’s wish to have – at the centre of his garden – a fountain that would tell the story of the childhood of Apollo, the sun god that he had chosen for his emblem.

Yet some 350 years after they were built, a renovation became necessary to preserve this heritage for those who follow us. The renovation of this world heritage site over a three-year period also included training new generations of artisans in various crafts.

To re-create the original appearance, across-the-board restoration was planned, including vegetation, the hydrant system, materials and sculptures. The focus on preserving the knowledge and techniques led to the training of 12 apprentices by specialist companies: lead sculptors, marble workers, gilders, fountain engineers, stonemasons, metal restorers and gardeners all contributed to restoring the Latona fountain to its original splendour.

The renovation ensures long-term access to rare expertise, and the kind of cross-over social impact that is of rising importance to philanthropists. Once again, bridging the past and the future is a powerful way to make a difference: using cutting edge technology permitted a 3D scanning of all statues on the Versailles chapel roof.

Building a database of architecture and structures means they can be rebuilt or copied thanks to a 3D printer when the dents of time will have rendered the next round of renovations necessary.

Our lives would be duller and flatter without arts and culture. After a stimulating evening, our guests went home reinvigorated: when culture meets science, as it did that evening at Versailles, we know why it makes sense to be optimistic about the future of humanity, and why this future matters.

Information Importante

Le présent document de marketing a été préparé par Lombard Odier (Europe) S.A., un établissement de crédit agréé et réglementé par la Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) au Luxembourg. La publication de document de marketing a été approuvée par chacune de ses succursales opérant dans les territoires mentionnés au bas de cette page (ci-après « Lombard Odier »).

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