For the last 8 years the Pathe Foundation in Paris has worked with Pritzker-winning architect Renzo Piano to design and construct their new headquarters. Slated for a grand opening this September, photos have emerged that reveal, in the architect’s own words, “an unexpected presence”: a curved bulbous structure that looks like it’s been squeezed into an opening within a historic Parisian city block. “The art of inserting a new building into an historic city block,” says Piano, “means engaging in an open, physical dialogue with the existing city buildings.” In other words, it’s an exercise in reclaiming space.
Hidden mostly behind buildings, the new headquarters, which will promote the Pathe’s heritage in cinematography with office spaces, film archives and a screening room, pokes its head out above the neighbors, looking like a giant armadillo. Walking by, an unsuspecting visitor would have no idea was behind that street-side facade. (via Designboom)
Photographer Allard Schager shot this perplexing photo while looking up the Stairway of the King of Aragon, a stairwell carved into a steep cliff face in Bonifacio, Corsica, France. I’ve looked at it carefully half a dozen times and still get confused as to which way is up or down. Totally wild.
Completed in 2012, Serpent d’océan is a giant aluminum sea serpent skeleton by artist Huang Yong Ping (previously) situated off the shore of the Loire River where it empties into the Bay of Biscay just outside of Nantes, France. Measuring nearly 425 feet (130 meters) in length the curving skeleton mirrors the curves of the nearby Saint-Nazaire bridge and was created as a permanent work for the final Estuaire contemporary art exhibition in 2012. Via Nantes Tourisme:
By having a major figure from Chinese mythology appear on European shores, Huang Yong Ping examines, the notions of identity and cultural hybridity, as is often the case in his work. The environmental question is also very present in his art where he regularly exposes the paradox of the man sawing the branch he is sitting on, torn between creative abilities and destructive impulses. This is one of the many possible interpretations of this work: placed on the beach, the skeleton appears with the tide and, little by little, will be home to marine fauna and flora.
Depending on weather conditions, tide levels, or the perspective of a photographer, Serpent d’océan appears dramatically different from day to day, a phenomenon you can witness over on Flickr. (via Beautiful Decay)
French artist Mademoiselle Maurice (previously here and here) has two fun new pieces up this month as part of the 2013 ARTAQ Festival in Angers, France. Requiring over 30,000 folded components, the artist relied on help from school children and people living in nearby “leisure centers” to help complete all of the pieces in time for installation. Hundreds of additional volunteers were on-hand to help cover a stairwell leading to Montée St-Maurice which was completed on May 31st. See many more photos here.
Recently unveiled in Marseille, France this giant mirrored canopy called the Port Vieux Pavilion was designed by architecture firm Foster + Partners. The pavilion measures nearly 150 feet (46 meters) long and is made of highly polished stainless steel meant to reflect people and the surrounding environment of Marseille’s World Heritage-listed harbor. The project is somewhat analogous to Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate here in Chicago and based on these photos I have no doubt the canopy will be a huge draw for tourists and locals alike. (via designboom)
Internationally recognized graffiti artist Tilt has just completed this eye-popping interior design work for the Au Vieux Panier hotel in Marseille, France. The hotel has just five rooms that are annually reconceptualized by commissioned artists and designers, somewhat similar to NYC’s Carlton Arms. For this space entitled Panic Room (which might aptly describe your mental state after a few nights in this Willy Wonkaesque environment) Tilt divided the room perfectly down the middle, one half covered entirely in his trademark vibrant and bubbly graffiti and the other half left stark white. See a sneak peek of all five concepts at Au Vieux Panier, including a room by Philippe Baudelocque who draws fantastic illustrations of animals using chalk. All in all, if I were checking in, Panic Room would be the clear choice. Photography above by the Big Addict. (via my modern met)