Spotting Rainbows in Paris, March 2009.

Location: Places de Vosges, Paris

Materials: 27 Swarovski faceted crystal balls + sunlight.

Team: ♥ Marian Labat ♥ Elizabeth Celhay ♥ Kristine Liljeberg ♥ Michael Elion.


A gem! The latest urban art project by Michael Elion: 27 Swarovski, faceted crystal balls hung from lamp posts surrounding the famous Place de Vosges in the 3rd Arrondisement of Paris (The Marais). They scatter hundreds of rainbows through the air, laser beams of light crisscrossing through space creating sudden flashes of colour as they strike one’s vision. Only 40mm diameter they emit blasts of coloured light that can be seen from hundreds of meters away. A sudden burst of red and purple into blue green orange - they appear and disappear just as quickly. Camouflaged by their transparency they hang inconspicuously, absorbing sunlight and refracting rainbows in all directions.

Catching a colour beam is a visual treat, a bright ray defying the daylight - they provide so much illumination that they become immediately arresting.

After Pink Street (Paris, 2008), Spotting Rainbows serves as a counterbalance, almost a compliment in its subtlety and quietness. Spotting Rainbows explicitly aims to enhance the individual’s experience of city space. The marvellous colours becoming perceptible as one’s vision intersects the refracted rays. A personalised moment and an almost magical feeling, as with natural rainbows when the elements are in place, a phenomenon of awe and wonder is created.

Elion describes Spotting Rainbows as ”…a visual treasure hunt that combines the natural elements with the man-made to produce unexpectedly beautiful surprises in the cityscape… almost like secrets”. “On the Northern side of Place de Vosges crystals have also been suspended between the high arches, throwing rainbows onto the adjacent walls. When the sun is out this public space becomes the ‘Rainbow Room’”.

Spotting Rainbows is dedicated to spring in Paris.

Spotting Rainbows in Paris making of video by Marian Labat (Mami)