Modern, provocative, rebellious. The new entrance of the Musée du Louvre is this and much more. Criticism has built its reputation, making it the most talked about pyramid in the world.
Eternal in volume and modern in material, it represents the architecture of two millennia in a single structure: from the pyramids of Giza to new, innovative technologies. From the first, it inherits the proportions and the form. From the second, the lightness and the transparency.
With its 21.60 m of height, it shines like a diamond in the centre of the main court, filling the great void and giving it a purpose. The light bounces on the solid surface giving it depth and consistency but, at same time, it floods into the basement creating a lively space, rich of reflections and soft shadows.
Externally, the glass’ immateriality clashes with the thick French Renaissance style, enriching it and depriving it. Here, a fight between different architectures and ideologies is engaged, an endless struggle with no winners or losers: simplicity collides with detail and transparency with the solid mass. A small surface of water separates it from the main bodies of the building, making the pyramid more like a sculpture rather than part of the building. The new architecture becomes the main character on stage and attempts to wrestle the limelight from the old one. All eyes are pointed towards the pyramid.
The question seems to arise spontaneously: will the pyramid succeed?
What is the best house for an art museum if not art itself? With an open heart and bones of steel, the Pompidou Centre towers naked above the French roofs of the 4th arrondissement. Among them it stands out, an alien surrounded by mortals.
A myriad of pipes wraps the back of the building: not to protect it but to make it work. The engine of the Pompidou Centre larks in the blue, green, red, yellow, grey and white tubes, each of which carries a different service: fool-proof and ideal for any problem. At least plumbers and electricians immediately know where to put their hands!
In this transgressive museum, all the old conventions collapse, leaving everything inside-out and giving carte blanche to the men. This is a building for the community. A mixture between the ancient polis and the Bauhaus, where every truth is tolerated because democracy reigns.
It is a structure that fully belongs to our century even if it was constructed in the past one. It is innovation, rebellion, desire to go beyond and flip the charts. It represents all the expectations, all the great ideals, all the hopes for the new millennium. We cannot yet tell if all these good intentions have become true, since we are still sailing in this century, but certainly the Pompidou now stands in front of us.
Many say that this is love at second sight. For me, no doubt it was love at first sight.
Paris is an old romantic man. Two things distinguish him as french: a baguette under the arm and a revolutionary spirit in the chest. A bit Bohemian, a bit Jacobin, but with one motto: liberté, egualité, fraternité.
Like all men – or all lovers I should say – he has two weaknesses: absinth and women. But it is known that every Casanova has one true love.
Paris’ everlasting one is a lanky old lady with an iron soul.
In her early years, she was criticised for her avant-garde personality: a bit too strong, a bit too modern. As time went by, confidence grew and she was ready to impress. Her vanity and diversity made her famous worldwide. Now, she is a front cover diva and her photographs are plastered all over magazines and postcards.
Paris observes her everyday from dawn to dusk. For 125 years, he awaited the right moment to make his move, but the time has not come yet. She towers above him like no other. Rising to the top of the Trocadero steps would not be enough to reach her height. Maybe he will never kiss her, but from there he can enjoy her best view.
His love is secret and endless. A love that will last forever.