Le Belvédère, a pavilion from Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, displayed in Rennes, France

May 15, 2022
The illuminated pavilion, installed in the river itself, explores relationships between people and environment.

From Nov. 20, 2021, to May 30, 2022, The Philadelphia Museum of Art presented an exhibit of the work of the brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, leading figures in contemporary industrial design.

Based in Paris, their work probes relationships between people and environments and explores the potential of form, materials, textures, including lighting.

On display was a view of Le Belvédère in the River Vilaine in Rennes, France. This pavilion, installed in the river, is mounted on a circular unpolished concrete pile. The slender structure is made of a tensile assembly of stainless-steel masts and anodized aluminum stays. It’s illuminated by 32 LED orbs combined with 16 wind-sensitive mobiles. Standing 50 feet high, the sizable structure manages to “exist without existing,” according to artist Ronan Bouroullec. This subtlety was intentional as the team chose to deliver this expression of urban dreamscape in a way that was sensitive to the local landscape. Even the scale was determined to complement large trees growing in the area.

While the piece may blend into its natural surroundings during the day, at night, it can resemble a type of lighthouse in the river that dares to simply delight passersby.

This article appeared in the May 2022 issue of Architectural SSL magazine.

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Architectural SSL staff

In January 2024, Architectural SSL evolved to LightSPEC. While the name changed, the editorial focus -- writing and developing audience-first content about architectural lighting in the built environment for architects, interior designers, lighting designers and manufacturers, and specifiers of commercial and residential lighting and controls -- remains the same.