“Paris sous verre”

Pavillon de l'Arsénal

Windows, walls, doors, floors, ceilings: glass is everywhere and yet, almost by definition, we tend to look right through it. This explains in part the fascination of “Paris sous verre—la ville et ses reflets” (Paris under glass, the city and its reflections), presented at the Pavillon de l’Arsénal, the city’s center for urbanism and architecture. By focusing eye and mind on the use of glass in the architecture of Paris and its environs, this seemingly modest affair of documentary photographs and large-format light-boxes, plus a few scale models and technical demonstrations, succeeded in putting the everyday environment in, as it were, a new light.

The exercise was not limited to a history of practical applications, for as artists, poets, and philosophers have demonstrated over the centuries, glass functions as matter and metaphor, transmitting, transforming, and obscuring both light and

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