December 29, 2013
Eyes up within the portico of the Maison Carrée in Nimes – the stepped entrance, fluted columns and the compact nature of the portico – encourage the upward gesture. At this festive time however, action and noise compete to steer the glance across to the ice rink installed as a gay, colourful and interactive lower platform between the old and the new – in an architectural sense. The new is the Carrée d’Art de Foster which becomes a fitting background to the leisure requirements of the Nimoise today .. . . . .
. . wandering around to the Boulevard Victor Hugo, late afternoon sun arrives on the facade and the light pushes the foreground elements – branches and street decorations – into strong definition.
Turning left to wander along the Quai de la Fontaine on the way to the Jardins, the beauty of the plane trees arching discreetly to their opposite partner frames the sedate but apposite water feature .. .
. . the usual activities are happening on the ground. And the usual effects are happening on the vertical elements . . .
. . . in the park, families engage in their own festive enjoyment and the permanent inhabitants oversee all.
The Jardins de la Fontaine were the first public gardens constructed in France, 50 years after Versailles built by the King for himself. The town is justly proud of this great garden and it is well used by all generations. As so often the case in France, the scale remains superb – the pattern and the form still have an integrity – with proportions that many designers nowadays can only dream about.
Wandering back by the Arènes, starlings provide the performance skywards. A murmuration – exquisite formations – float with exact organisation forwards and backwards across the sky gathering before coming home to roost . . . .
. . at the junction of Rue de l’Ecluse (home/roost) and Avenue Carnot stands a palm. Phillippe Starck has created an installation – Abribus – inspired by an ancient Roman symbol which is found on both the coin and on the shield of the city, and features the two symbols of the city, the crocodile and palm tree. The marble design is a small line of solid cubes that reach the tree and are the tail and neck, and a large bucket, supported by its four vertices showing the animal’s body. As the light falls and decorative lighting comes to the fore. A strange and succesful installation that typifies ‘ the seen and the unseen’. That typifies The Little Prince.
“People where you live,” the little prince said, “grow five thousand roses in one garden… yet they don’t find what they’re looking for…
They don’t find it,” I answered.
And yet what they’re looking for could be found in a single rose, or a little water…”
Of course,” I answered.
And the little prince added, “But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart.”