You needn’t be an inveterate shopper to appreciate Galeries Lafayette’s splendid coupole. The Art Nouveau-era masterpiece has drawn neck-craning fans of architecture, decorative art and fashion since its unveiling in 1912. On October 16, the renowned department store kicks off a yearlong celebration honoring the iconic dome’s centenary as a Paris landmark. Artist Yann Kersalé has created a light-sensitive “chrysalide” over the main store’s exterior that will remain illuminated, reacting with the natural light on the building’s facade and with special interior lights designed to augment the dome’s gemlike facets of color.
The store has also invited superstar architect Rem Koolhaas and his workshop OMA—pioneers in discussing the influence of shopping on cityscapes— to curate a special exhibit honoring the emblematic building, which started out in 1893 as a 700-square-foot dry goods store. Less than two decades later, it had expanded to fill two sprawling city blocks, representing a milestone in the confluence of fashion, commerce and the wider creative world, via window displays, in-shop events and artist-commissioned designs. The centenary exhibition, with an accompanying book, traces the store’s history with archive photographs, newspaper articles, posters, graphics, window displays, films and videos. A series of round-table discussions at the Cité de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine is scheduled, along with special guided tours of the Art Nouveau edifice organized by the store’s Archives and Heritage Department. For more information email [email protected]
40 blvd Haussmann, 9th, 01.42.82.34.56.
Originally published in the October 2012 issue of France Today