Master of elegance and space management, Ieoh Ming Pei has left his mark on Paris with the Louvre pyramid and then with this landmark tower at La Défense. For those of you who don’t know the building, I include the “postcard image” on the left. (Click on the image to enlarge)
The ogive form would not have been terribly interesting without the scooped-out concave part at the front. The “flying saucer” covering the entrance completes the concave form perfectly. I am impressed. And I was surprised that a state-owned, conservative company like EDF commissioned headquarters of such a markedly modern design. Maybe they got more than they had bargained for. It appears that Pei watched over the “purity” of his design and opposed the addition of the EDF Logo at the top of the tower. Compared to the banner with the slightly childish new EDF logo that indeed blighted the look of the building for a while, the large but discrete logo that is now fixed there is much more in keeping with the style of the building.

When work started, one wondered whether any significant construction could be raised on such a small ground. At that time, the tower was planted in the middle of buildings of a previous generation. In the meantime, the neighbouring Crédit Lyonnais Tower has been stripped down to its steel skeleton and rematerialized as OPUS 12. Its glass façade provides a reflecting surface for its surroundings, as you were able to see in previous postings. The shopping centre on the other side of the EDF tower is undergoing major surgery right now. (see Posting "A view from the top")

In the following two images you can see the change from the old Crédit Lyonnais building to Opus 12. The new building offers a mirror to the EDF Tower, enhancing its presence.

Tours EDF Crédit Lyonnais Tour EDF Opus 12


The concave part of Tour EDF reflects a rather slim image of the massive Cœur Défense building.
(Click on the image to enlarge)

The two juxtapositions of curves, those of the Calder sculpture and of the EDF tower have already been presented in previous postings. Compared to the morphing of the new Tour Phare, they will appear like rather austere curves.

Courbes Courbes Nuit

(Click on the images to enlarge)

Through the Looking Glass

"Through the Looking Glass"

In this image, the EDF building exists only as a reflection, rather "déconstruit", the only "real" part being the disk above the entrance. As soon as you “enter” the building, you are "beyond the mirror". A fascinating image that appears so clearly only at a certain light and a certain hour of the day. Like all mysteries. I hope Lewis Carroll would have enjyed this image.

Talking of "mysteries", take another look at the twilight image of the EDF tower, featured already in previous postings:

Tour EDF crépuscule
(Click on the image to enlarge)