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The museum, whose design by Japanese architect Tadao Ando was unveiled in 2001, was destined for the Ile Séguin, an island in the Seine in a western suburb, close to the Sèvres porcelain factory. Pinault had already spent over £10m but, blaming red tape and political inertia, says his patience has run out – building had yet to start and it could not have been completed before 2009. Instead Pinault has paid a reported £20m for an 80 per cent stake in the 18th century Palazzo Grassi in Venice, an exhibition centre formerly owned by Fiat, just along the Grand Canal from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection.