Optical Illusions, Reflections and Lacy Architecture


Do you like modern architecture?
Whatever your preferences, this illustrated report
will not leave you indifferent.


Going to visit a new museum called MuCEM
in the town of Marseille in France.
The inscriptions explain in Hebrew, French and Arabic,
the temporary exhibition: "Lieux Saint Partagés" which means
"Shared Sacred Sites".


This imposing face shows the way to the entrance.

The inside structure of this amazing building is made of glass, metal and reinforced concrete.
The walkways, going all around the internal glass walls, 
are made of metal. This creates deformed and fascinating reflections on all sides.

The shapes and designs change constantly as we walk towards them.

This reflection is like a work of modern art.
Notice the blue of the sea below.

The oustide lacy design in reinforced concrete is held together
by metal bars attached to concrete pillars.

At the end of each walkway, you turn either right or left.
See the reflected lacy design in the puddle at the end.

Looking up above our heads,
all this external part of the whole structure is open to the sky.

This is what it looks like from the inside of the glass building.
You can see three levels of external walkways with a visitor on the lower level.
This image feels like a stylised forest.

Coming out of the museum, we can see the entrance to the old port
behind the Saint-Jean Fort.
In the background, high on the hill, is the well-known Marseille landmark
of Notre-Dame de la Garde.

This is the back of the museum facing the open sea
and contrasting with the classical Cathedral Sainte Marie-Majeure
in the Byzantine-Roman style.

Walking away from the museum showing the overhanging lacy roof
and the cathedral reflected in the glass side of the building.

I love the spaciousness in this parting shot.
Aren't the lines and the reflections marvellous in this one?

One last look at the open Mediterranean Sea
before we leave.

Did you manage to get to the end of this photo-heavy report?

If you would like to know more about MUCEM
which means: Museum of the Civilisations of Europe and the Mediterranean.
Check out the link above.



28 comments

  1. How very interesting. Thanks for sharing. I do like modern art (and architecture), but I have to say I perceptibly sighed with relief once we came outside and saw the entrance to the old port! The colours and the shapes are so restful... A great selection of photographs, Sandra.

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    1. Thanks Sophia! I know what you mean about breathing in open spaces after such a visit, but it didn't feel oppressing inside, rather more exciting as we discovered all the fascinating optical illusions and reflections. I felt like a child in a labyrinth of deforming mirrors as I went from corner to corner, expressing delight!

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  2. Oh wow! What beautiful architecture (and photography!)! Love the lines and the reflections! Also love the framing in the last photo of the people and boats! Thanks for sharing, it must have been quite an experience walking through!
    Kate :}

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    1. Yes, it was quite an experience to visit, like nothing I've ever seen before. The exhibition was also very interesting.

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  3. I love all the reflections but what really caught my eye was the incongruity of the modern architecture with the ancient stone buildings. I wonder if this building will last as many years.

    As usual, your photo eye is spot on, I feel like I have been on the walk through the building with you.

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    1. One does wonder how these modern structures will wear with time and they are such a contrast to the classical, older buildings. I was certainly in my element among all these reflections and framing scenes in that outside structure overlooking the sea!

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  4. I love this! The architecture is amazing and so well photographed by you! I keep scrolling back up and looking at all those fascinating reflections.

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    1. It's so unusual, that's for sure - and very fascinating too. The reflections are what I enjoyed the most!

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  5. sympa! y a le même style au flon tu as vu?

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    1. Nice to see you, Ely! No, I haven't seen this style of building you mentioned in the Flon. I must have a look!

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  6. Oh, I would love to spend all day photographing in this place, but you have done a wonderful job of showing it to us through your eyes. Amazing.

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    1. Yes, Kim. It was a rather marvellous place to visit - even though I often prefer classsical architecture, this was so cleverly designed that it was impossible not to be impressed and enthralled! I did take rather a lot of photos, but had to make a difficult choice to show just a part of them here!

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  7. Your photography of the Mucem and the classical structures of the surrounding buildings are stunning, Sandra. Modern architecture and art makes my brain more alert to interpretation because it presents such a different set of circumstances than the usual. There is a new museum in Aspen that makes use of glass and reflection. I hope to visit it on our next trip to Aspen.

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    1. Thanks, Barb. It's true that modern architecture can draw us in because of the unexpected element and reflections always hold such a fascination for me. On the other hand, I wouldn't like all the beautiful old buildings, full of centuries of history, to disappear in favour of all modern!

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  8. I love the leading lines in that entrance. So much texture and pattern here, wonderful.

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. It was an amazing place to visit!

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  9. such a wonderful array of design through your lens and heart.

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    1. It seems that my lens had lots of fun!

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  10. What a fascinating structure! I can see how much you enjoyed photographing it. I love the lacy patterns, and the reflections are amazing. The contrast between the old and the new is so strong! What fun!

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    1. It was rather fascinating, Gina, It was like nothing I've ever seen before.

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  11. How different to see such a modern structure in the heart of the old. I love how you captured them both thru you lens. Personally I prefer the old to the new, but you must appreciate all forms of art. Thank you for sharing these wonderful images!!

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    1. Thanks, Deanna. Like you, I have a special affinity with beautiful old buildings, but this modern one was so full of surprises and fascinating points of view, it was difficult not to admire its originality.

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  12. That lacy exterior is beautiful, and I really liked the shot showing all three levels. I would love to have a room with one wall like that, looking out onto forest or water.

    What a fascinating building and very imaginatively constructed.

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    1. Thank you for popping in to leave a comment, Sue. Lots of the views from that modern museum were overlooking the sea or the port. I loved seeing the blue-green sea when I looked down beneath the structure. You can see this on photos 6 and 8 besides the sea views taken through the lacy outer construction.

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  13. This must have been a wonderful adventure to see this beautiful museum so eloquently placed beside the sea. I love the lacy effect of the outside against the straight lines of the inside....Your captures are beautiful and I can see why it would have been difficult to decide which ones to choose.....

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    1. Thank you, Nancy. It was a fascinating visit!

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  14. Wow - what a gorgeous museum. That lacy roof is fabulous and I love love your shots of the museum/roof and old cathedral in the same frame.

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    1. Thank you! Those reflection shots of the modern museum and the classical cathedral are my favourite ones too!

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