Paris, Texas
Paris, France

Built to celebrate the 1889 World’s Fair, the Eiffel Tower was originally meant to stand for only 20 years. Now, explored by millions of people and considered the “most-visited paid monument in the world,” the Eiffel Tower has become the unequivocal symbol of Paris and all things Français.

Over the last century, the iconic figure has spawned replicas throughout the United States, bringing the spirit of France within our own borders: a half-scale version at the Paris Casino in Las Vegas; a cowboy-hat wearing homage in the town of Paris, Texas; and this spring, the latest Eiffel will tower over Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Commissioned by the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA), which is inspired by Paris 1910-1920, Philly’s tower will infuse the lobby of the Kimmel Center with a certain je ne sais quoi. Housed under the glass roof of the indoor Commonwealth Plaza, designer Mimi Lien will unveil the 3-ton, 80+ foot tower with its 6,000 light bulbs, on April 8. (See image below)

“The Paris theme was a vision for the festival as a conversation between many different art forms, much as the cafes of Paris just after the turn of the century served as meeting places between painters, poets, composers, and choreographers,” says Ms. Lien. “Rather than transplant the streets of Paris to the Kimmel Center, I thought it would be more exciting to evoke the spirit of Parisian artistic innovation by activating the volume of space in the existing building, which has a pretty unique scale, and infusing it with the buzz of energy that was so prevalent in Paris 1911.”

Mimi Lien's Eiffel Tower, courtesy of PIFA

Stay tuned as Traveling IQ explores the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts through May 1, with PIFA’s support.

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