As part of the renovation and redesign work that led up to Marseille’s City of Culture Year, Foster + Partners, together with the French landscape architect Michel Desvigne, were contracted to regenerate the quayside area at the Canebiere end of the Vieux Port.
The result is an enlarged pedestrian space at Quai des Belges, with both light and shade provided by a dramatic blade of reflective stainless steel overhead. Open on all sides, this 46 by 22 metre canopy has a polished, mirrored surface that reflects the surrounding port and streets. The massive mirror tapers towards the edges, minimising its profile and helping to blur the edges. The sense of not knowing where reality ends and reflection starts, creates a feeling of infinite space.