The Seeing City

Paris, France 2015–22

The permanent installation transforms the top two floors of the existing Morland building into an immersive optical device. Visible from the streets below and accessible to the public, it captures the atmosphere and immaterial qualities of the surroundings, transforming them into an evocative kaleidoscopic vista.

Recognisable while harmonising with the existing cityscape, the work creates a delicate beacon atop the building. Viewed from the city below, the work sometimes disappears into the sky when the weather is calm and even, and at other times stands out in stark contrast when the reflection differs from the surrounding sky, as at sunrise and sunset.

Spanning the top two floors of the building complex, the work reflects both the streets and roofs of Paris from below and the Parisian sky above. These uncanny, inverted images are in constant motion, reacting to the outside conditions and the weather, as well as to the visitor’s own movements and changing perspectives.

The installation, as part of the larger Morland Mixité Capitale project, is situated on the banks of the river Seine in the 4th arrondissement, and was developed by Studio Other Spaces as a member of the winning competition team formed by Emerige and led by David Chipperfield Architects.


Client: Société Parisienne du Nouvel Arsenal (SPNA), Paris
Location: Boulevard Morland, Paris, France
Date: 2015–21
Collaborators: David Chipperfield Architects, Calq Architecture
Awards: Competition first prize, Réinventer Paris