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Amazing Optical Illusion Makes The Louvre's Pyramid Disappear

The French street artist JR brings together architectural past and present with a sleight of hand.

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When I.M. Pei designed a 70-foot-tall glass pyramid to be erected in an old parking lot in front of the Louvre, critics called the structure "a gigantic, simmering gadget" and "an annex to Disneyland." Over two decades later, the glimmering glass entrance people once feared would be a blight on the face of the ancient Louvre Palace is a beloved landmark. It ushers in over 8 million people to the museum a year.

Now, the pyramid has vanished under the hand of famed French street artist JR. The artist plastered one side of the pyramid with a gigantic black-and-white photo depicting the entrance to the Louvre Palace. When viewed straight on, the Louvre is a throwback to the pre-pyramid days (though the center looks like it's overlaid with a black-and-white Instagram filter). From other angles, visible glass sides shatter the illusion, but offer an equally spectacular sight.

"The Pyramid is one of the most photographed French monuments," JR tells Hugo Vitrani in an interview for the museum. "I am re-directing its energy, because people are going to have to move around it. They are going to look for the best angle to get the full impact of the anamorphic image, and really make the Pyramid disappear."

And look for the best angle they did. We've assembled some of the best shots from all different vantage points, just in case you can't make it out to Paris. (Though the installation is up until June 27, so there's still time.)

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