François Morellet
Light Blue, 1997

The Berlin commission that François Morellet developed for the atrium of the former Debis-building at Potsdamer Platz, designed by the architect Renzo Piano, is his response to a special challenge. The architecture has the proportions of the nave of a great cathedral: the atrium is 37 meters high, 85 meters long and 13 meters wide, with walls designed alternately in glass and brick, and a glass roof. François Morellet inscribed great argon arcs into this space, running to the full height of the walls and across the floor. Here it can be clearly seen how far an arrangement of this kind contradicts the architectural design, which is based on right angles and vertical quality. And yet the starting figure is a regular one, a circle that appears on three walls and then flat on the floor, following the “laid-down wall” principle that the architect is so fond of: if the figures projected on the floor are brought back to the vertical, the segments of circles no longer coincide, the basic form is destroyed and chaos reigns, further reinforced by the fact that the lines are interrupted by the glazed apertures, which makes them seem dotted.

François Morellet

* 1926 Cholet, F
† 2016 Cholet, F
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