It’s without question that the Louvre’s glass pyramid is edgy, in more than one sense of the word. I remember when it was built to house the entrance; I also vividly remember the lively aesthetic debate that followed its revelation. Some said its design was a work of a visionary; others argued that it’s highly inconsistent with the classic French Renaissance style of the Louvre building, and called it a pretentious, megalomaniacal eyesore in the middle of Paris. Others debated the “sufficient Frenchness” of the American-Chinese architect I.M. Pei, who was contracted for the job. There were even some extreme views deeming the construction downright sacrilegious, as the pyramid form features Egyptian death symbolism.
Another glug of fuel was added to the already fiery debate with the publication of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code in 2003; some even claimed the pyramid was the work of the devil, having been constructed of 666 panes of glass (to make it clear, that is an urban legend).
Yet the majestic glass pyramid with its 21-meter height still stands and has an undeniably elegant effectiveness in the way it cleverly distributes the thousands of visitors passing through the lobby each day, without adding a bulky structure blocking the view of the Louvre building itself. There are in fact several establishments worldwide that replicated the design since.
We may not ever hear the end of this debate, but that’s only expected considering no such edge comes without controversy. There is also something to be said for life needing an edge, otherwise, we would inevitably fall into boredom and certain despair.