Centre Pompidou-Metz is national project for France viewed by some as having important significance in the policy of cultural decentralization. The public first heard of the project when it was an architectural proposal through an international competition. From that stage on, the project was attracting many people’s interest.
Having just set up my own office, I was not intending to put my hand up to such a large project, and it was purely out of personal interest that I ventured to the exhibition showing the competition results. It was the winning proposal designed by Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines that caught my eye. It was a daring wooden structured roof softly wrapping around galleries, with white cloth covering the entire roof as if it were capped with snow—It was an outstanding work that concealed a lightness and transparency I had never before encountered. After one look at this, I thought, “I want to light up this architecture!” Having just become independent, I did have some spare time. And I intently began creating a nightscape perspective drawing, representing the light-up ideas that popped in my mind when I first saw the design. Then I boldly made the phone call to Mr. Ban’s office, assuming the worst. But to my surprise, my call connected directly to the super-busy Mr. Ban, who actually said, “We were actually just in the process of looking for a lighting designer.” —I thought it had been written in the stars.
An art museum is primarily a place that collects and exhibits various cultures and expressions from an overlooking perspective. To use light to express an image of riding on a flying carpet above the glowing clouds looking around at the works, I created a light-up from inside the translucent white roof. I designed the line of sight to naturally flow upwards as if riding updrafts. Then five years later, after taking many twists and turns and overcoming tremendous obstacles, this big project was officially completed at a ceremony attended by the President of France. The initial dream light-up in my head had been brought to reality. The use of a nightscape in an opening poster of an art museum was unprecedented, and I was greatly encouraged how the charm of light was contributing to the image creation of an international project. The following year, I received an international lighting design award.
Project Team : Shigeru Ban Architects Europe & Jean de Gastines Architectes
Dates : 2005-2010
Construction Cost : 45 M€
Surface : 7 200 m2
Architectural lighting design