It took 3 years for artist Yannick Jacquet to create Élytre, a forty metres long generative work on display at the foot of the the Alexandre III bridge in Paris. The piece was commissioned as a permanent design feature for Le Flow, a floating building moored along the new pedestrian area on the banks of the Seine.
Yannick Jacquet drew inspiration from the dark mass of the barge between the sky and the river to fine-tune his response to the immediate surroundings, calling on the instability and permanence of the flowing water, the infinitely nuanced shifts of light, and the interplay of transparencies between its large plate-glass windows and the glass dome of the Grand Palais just across the water. Drawing on the barge’s organic, cocoon-like architecture, he came up with a highly sensitive, reactive work in the form of an installation that reverses the overall structural inertia of the barge’s four hundred tons of steel, as if echoing Reyner Banham’s principle of regenerative architecture. The installation is linked up to a battery of sensors so that it varies according to the time of year, season, atmospheric pressure, wind speed, temperature, and so on. It is in a constant state of flux, permanently subject to imperceptible shifts.