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 CNS Story:

LA-SPHERE Dec-21-2011 (440 words) With photo. xxxn

'Haute Sphere' Nativity artwork gets US debut at Los Angeles cathedral

By Catholic News Service

LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- "Haute Sphere," a contemporary interpretation of the Nativity scene conceived by architect Sylvain Dubuisson and crafted by French porcelain manufacturer Bernardaud, made its U.S. debut at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in Los Angeles.

Parisian Daniel Gnaedig, creative designer for Bernardaud, spent a day and a half assembling the "Haute Sphere" in the cathedral before its Dec. 7 debut presentation led by Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez. It was to remain on display at the cathedral until Jan. 6.

The interior of the geodesic dome "manger" is made up of 48 triangular plaques, stars and the "halo" (representing the Christ child), all in hand-painted or engraved porcelain.

LED lights installed behind the porcelain plaques illuminate the "sky" decorated with five- and six-pointed platinum-coated silver stars hovering above the gold-embellished halo resting on a bed of sand representing the desert lands of Christ's birth.

The artwork's surround-sound recording of chants in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus, heightens viewers' experience of the Incarnation.

First presented in December of last year at the Church of the Madeleine in Paris, the "Haute Sphere" also has been exhibited at the Basilica San Lorenzo in Milan in April and in the BAL (Fine Arts Museum) in Limoges, France, from July to October.

"It's a unique artistic impression of the Nativity," said George J. Kakaty, president & CEO of Bernardaud North America, who accompanied Gnaedig for the 12-foot-high artwork's assembly in the cathedral.

"It's something very mystical and spiritual," added Gnaedig. "It's not the typical Nativity scene, but with the lights and music, it's something special."

"Bernardaud had never turned its creative force to the objects or symbols associated with Catholics in the practice of their faith," said Michel Bernardaud, fifth-generation CEO. "It was with enthusiasm that we sought Sylvain Dubuisson to help us respond to an appeal from the Madeleine to bring an original perspective to the Nativity scene."

Dubuisson is a French architect and artist whose unique approach to projects is described as both highly poetic and extremely technical. The son of an architect, Dubuisson has designed public spaces for expositions, projects for the rehabilitation of public housing, interior objects and furniture throughout the world.

Bernardaud is a family-owned and operated company founded 1863 in Limoges, France, and the premier manufacturer of French porcelain.

"The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels provides a complementary backdrop to this unique and beautiful work of art," said Msgr. Kevin Kostelnik, cathedral pastor. "We are honored to host the Haute Sphere for the first time in the United States, in the heart of the City of Angels this Christmas season."

- - -

Contributing to this story was Paula Doyle in Los Angeles.

END


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