It felt as if Christmas came early to Paris last night when Galeries Lafayette illuminated the facade of their historic flagship store on Boulevard Haussmann to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of their iconic stained-glass Dome. Designed by architect Ferdinand Chanut and glass artist Jacques Gruber in 1912, the Dome is 43 meters (141 ft) high and equipped with a pulley that has been used to elevate the store's Christmas tree and many other objects over the years. It even held an airplane aloft in 1949!
For the centenary of the Dome, French conceptual artist Yann Kersalé has covered Galeries Lafayette in a skin so sensitive that each variation in the store’s activities set off a shimmer of light. Enveloping the building like a cocoon, Chrysalide will change with the seasons and remain illuminated throughout the year.
|Why are all of these VIPs, including Yann Kersalé, gazing upwards?|
One of my favorite things to do with first time visitors to Paris is to take them inside Galeries Lafayette and tell them to look up. Now it's going to be even more fun to watch their reactions because the Dome echoes the exterior lights and changes color. Craning my neck backwards along with everyone else, I couldn't decide if I preferred the green, blue, red or purple highlights last night. While you're trying to determine which color you like the best, be sure to notice the recently renovated Majorelle balconies.
To commemorate the centenary, the department store has published Les Galeries Lafayette, 100 ans sous la Coupole (100 Years Under the Dome at Galeries Lafayette), a book that recounts the history of the Dome's construction and shows how this legendary site created a stage for fashion in the heart of Paris. Additionally, the current exhibition, "Chronicle of a Creative Itinerary" illustrates how culture and shopping have co-existed at Galeries Lafayette since 1912. Located on the first floor near Angelina's Cafe, the free exhibition runs until January 26, 2013.
If you would like to see additional photos of the Dome, please click here to view the album that I posted on Facebook.
|The 100 year old Dome at Galeries Lafayette shimmering in all of its glory!|