Piano... again!

Enzo Piano co-designed the Centre Pompidou, now already many years ago; it opened in 1977. He also designed the new Paris Palace of Justice, which opened officially two weeks ago. (I recently took a photo from the Centre Pompidou of the new Palace, see post here.)

In the meantime, Piano designed a new seat for the Foundation Jérôme Seydoux–Pathé, which opened in 2014.  The foundation was created a few years earlier with the objective to preserve the legacy of the film company Pathé, founded by the Pathé brothers in 1896, the second oldest film company in the world (prior to Universal, Paramount...), still very active as a major film production and distribution company, owning a number of cinema chains (Les Cinémas Gaumont-Pathé) and television networks.

One of the company’s cinemas used to be here, at 73 avenue des Gobelins. Originally the place was built as a theatre. The rather narrow facade dates from the opening of the theatre in 1869 and is an early job by Auguste Rodin – ha was 29 and not yet “launched”. The theatre later became a cinema and was so under different names (including “Rodin”) until 2003.

The cinema theatre - behind the remaining facade - with some 800 seats has disappeared and is replaced by a quite revolutionary construction, housing the foundation’s offices, part of the archives, space for temporary and permanent (especially cinema projection equipment produced by Pathé) exhibitions … and a small cinema theatre - which today partly is used to show old silent movies, accompanied by live piano music.

It’s quite difficult to illustrate what you now find behind the facade. I have “stolen” one illustration from the foundation website and have also found an aerial view, thanks to Google Earth.

Seen from the outside, you have the impression of some metallic cover - actually some 5000 "shutters" - a combination, two levels, of metallic plates and glass. The number of small holes in the metallic plates makes it impossible to see the interior from the outside, but you can see the outside from the interior.


Door handles, knobs…

Just a few pictures from a walk in my new neighbourhood, occupied by buildings which mostly have a few years of history.

Maybe some extra comments… There are some extravagant handles on two Lavirotte buildings (see previous post). One of the lizards on the door of 151 rue de Grenelle was obviously once stolen. It has been replaced by a copy of the one you can find 29 avenue Rapp. Did the stolen one look the same?

Some neighbouring buildings in the same street, same year of construction, same architect, may have similar handles, but different care gives different looks.

Some handles may need less frequent polishing by the concierge, being self-polished.

I was struck by the decoration of this basically quite modest building, 22 rue Fabert.


Villa Auguste Blanqui

The 13th arrondissement is to a rather large extent full of more or less modern buildings, not always what many of us would consider as the utmost in architecture. The arrondissement is however also the most street-art-friendly of the 20 Paris arrondissements and many buildings are, at least in my mind, “saved” thanks to the decoration of previously naked facades. We could see some examples in a recent preceding post. But… there are also some “îlots”, small “islands” where a different atmosphere can be found. Here is an example, Villa Auguste Blanqui. “Villa” is often used in Paris for small mostly dead-end (cul-de-sac) streets. Auguste Blanqui (1805-81) was a French socialist and activist, quite radical for his time – he spent half of his life in prison.

Here are some examples to show what the little street, the “villa”, looks like. 



A bit more than ten years...

Slightly too late I realised that this blog has been running for ten years… (and three weeks). This is post no. 1072. I have had some 2.800.000 pageviews (thank you all!)… and I have learnt a lot myself and, especially, I have made and met a lot of friends. (Before that I had a similar blog for a year, starting very optimistically with a post almost every day – 343 posts.) I thought this was worth a ….(see above)!


Work in progress...

The other day I discovered a – for me – new wall-painting by street artists Zag & Sia. The painting is named “La Villa des Arts” and is of course clearly linked to its immediate neighbour, “La Villa des Arts”, a place where artists like Renoir, Cézanne, Picabia, Signac… lived or worked for shorter or longer periods. I reported on the place here and here. On the painting we can see Sia balancing on a heart (“L'Attrape Coeur”, referring to Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye"). (Rue Etienne Jodelle, Paris 18e.)

I’m more used to seeing Zag & Sia decorating stairs in their own, original, way and remembered that a couple of days ago, when I was invited to a private concert in the 14th arrondissement, I noticed that one of their stair-paintings was clearly losing its colours. (Stairs leading to Rue des Artistes, Paris 14e - compare with the more official photo taken when it was all newly painted.)

I got curious, as I especially remembered the stairs (Rue Lemaignan, Paris 14e) that some two years ago they had decorated to commemorate the death, 30 years earlier, of the extremely popular comedian and actor Coluche. I wrote about it here. I went back to check… and, how lucky I was, I found Zag & Sia, (see top picture) working on a modification of the portrait of Coluche and adding the portrait of his wife, Véronique, who died very recently. Since her husband’s death Véronique has played an important role in the “Restos du Coeur”, a charity launched by her husband and today involving thousands of volunteers, mainly distributing food, hot meals… to the needy. When you see Zag & Sia in action you realise how difficult their job is. 

I thought I should check some other of Zag & Sia's decorated stairs. You have to realise that much is gone, that this type of art is quite ephemeral. Here are some examples of what I couldn’t find, of what is gone…The original photos here, above and below are stolen from here and here, including Zag & Sia’s Facebook site

But on my way through the very street-art-friendly 13th arrondissement, I could again admire some works by other artists…

… and I also found this quite recent work by Zag & Sia (Rue de Chevaleret, Paris 13e)….  

… and this one (Boulevard du Général Jean Simon, Paris13e)…

… and then I discovered that these stairs lead to or from an incredible street art shop. It was even written “öppet” which means “open” in Swedish, so I of course had a look inside…  and I realised how the prices of works by some of these artists are climbing.


Closer looks

In my preceding post, I took a closer look on the Foujita art. Here are some closer looks on a few flowers in my little garden - which finally has taken some spring colours.  (The top picture shows the inside of a tulip.)