After nine months of construction, re-routing of traffic and a rumoured EUR45 million bill, visitors to Marseilles’ Vieux Port can now photograph themselves upside down.
Norman Foster’s Ombriere, a huge flat mirror supported on poles above the terrace in front of the Vieux Port, reflects the colourful fishing boats, the buses, the beggars and hawkers, the school excursions, the petit trains and the visitors who cluster in this hub of Marseillaise tourist life.
I hope this mirror thing doesn’t become a cliche, like the giant ferris wheels sprouting on groovy, go-ahead, ‘wow, look at us!’ city skylines.
They’re fun to play with, and truly beautiful objects in their own right.
Ombriere may not have the magic of Kapoor’s brilliant creations though, to be fair, the brief was different. Ombriere had to be effective close up without dominating the Vieux Port from a distance. It’s as much an architectural element, offering a place to shelter from sun or rain, as a work of art.
What do you think? Like it? Should every town get one?