Behind the scenes of the monumental renovation of the Grand Palais in Paris | EUROtoday

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It is a colossus of glass, metallic and stone with a location that may make all the opposite monuments in Paris resentful. Located between the Seine and the Champs Elysées, the Grand Palais was constructed for the 1900 Universal Exhibition to be a showcase for French artwork. Closed three years in the past for the primary full renovation in its historical past, it’s getting a second lease of life, on the event of the Paris Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Since its opening in 1900, eclecticism has characterised the Grand Palais in Paris. Its nave has seen dozens of occasions go beneath its majestic glass roof, from automobile exhibits to agricultural occasions and horse racing competitions. But if it has all the time hosted many industrial occasions, artwork has all the time had its place there.

During the First World War, nevertheless, the Grand Palais was reworked right into a army hospital. During the Second World War, the constructing hosted two exhibitions serving Nazi propaganda. At the top of the Nineteen Forties, the nave returned to commerce festivals: the primary Renault 4L was offered there, then the strain cooker within the Nineteen Fifties. Abandoned for a while, the nave was used once more in 1977 for the FIAC (Fair International Contemporary Art Festival), then occasions, every as completely different as the subsequent, observe each other: funfairs, ice rinks, electro live shows, vogue exhibits…

In 2017, the Tour de France riders even loved a crossing beneath its glass roof! With the Monumenta modern artwork exhibition, which takes place often, the nave is occupied by world-renowned French and overseas artists: Christian Boltanski, Anish Kapoor and Daniel Buren. On the event of the modern artwork truthful Art Paris, Chinese photographer Li Wei even flies beneath the majestic glass roof. He stays there for ten minutes in weightlessness for an anthology picture session.

Make manner for the Olympics: a titanic challenge in report time

In the summer season of 2024, the nave of the Grand Palais will host the Olympic fencing and taekwondo occasions, a primary for this architectural gem. “Athletes and the public will breathe in a unique building in the world,” enthuses Didier Fusillier, president of the Réunion des musées nationaux-Grand Palais. “You have to imagine that, in the Grand Palais, we bring the entire Palace of Versailles so this immensity will give a feeling of experiencing an extraordinary Olympic event,” he continues.

But to arrange the Olympics there and proceed to enter the Grand Palais, restoration work was important. This colossal challenge started in March 2021 and ought to be accomplished in spring 2025.

Four years of labor, a funds of almost 500 million euros and as much as a thousand staff working on daily basis to renovate the constructing, as Daniel Sancho, the director of this rehabilitation challenge, explains to us: “We are meeting technical challenges every day depending on the discoveries we make: lead, asbestos… and this slows down the construction site”. Another problem: the nave with its 13,500 sq. meters of glass roof.

Visual photographer Marguerite Bornhauser was chosen in 2021 by the Grand Palais to take her take a look at the renovation web site. The 35-year-old younger girl has carte blanche to immortalize these works that are, in response to her, “an infinite source of inspiration”. She significantly likes the sunshine within the basement of the constructing: “The construction neon lights give an astonishing, very spectacular and very theatrical brightness. Men become shadows, there is a lot of chiaroscuro, it's almost a bit dramatic”.

In the approaching months, the photographer will proceed to immortalize the development web site as a result of if the work on the nave is accomplished for the Olympics, it is going to proceed in the remainder of the Grand Palais till June 2025.