A new custom piece by David Harber is featured in the reimagined central Vestibule of the historic Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte on the outskirts of Paris.

The redesigned vestibule was unveiled at the 2023 Gala of The International Friends of Vaux-le-Vicomte and was open to the public for one week in support of a campaign to restore the chateau's original fountains and waterworks.

Landscape architect Fernando Wong's reimagining of the Vestibule pays homage to the legendary heritage of the seventeenth century château, drawing inspiration from its spectacular gardens and – using heritage fabrics from Schumacher – from the blue and white porcelain in the chateau's collection. Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte is the largest private chateau in France.

David Harber's piece is called Messier after French astronomer Charles Messier who discovered the Dandelion nebula. It is made up of stainless steel allium-inspired spheres, with individual petals shaped like ginkgo leaves. When lit, each blossom becomes a prism, showering light in all directions.

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Messier illuminated in the dark

Messier creates a sparkling and dazzling effect reminiscent of the jubilant explosions of fireworks at the fête of Nicolas Fouquet, the famous French politician who built the chateau in 1661.

The visual spectacle is more than just a sculptural feat; it embodies festivity, a celebration of the moment and the space it inhabits. The installation captures the creative and celebratory energy of Vaux-le-Vicomte before Louis XIV’s jealousy of the chateau's grandeur led to Fouquet's downfall and stifled one of the greatest creative moments of the 17th century.

Aerial view of Messier

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