PHARES by Milene Guermont


PHARES is an artwork that highlights the oldest monument of Paris.


In 1843, on Place de La Concorde, the first public test of electric lighting in the world happened.

PHARES is the first artwork ever to be put on this very plaza. It interacts with the oldest monument in Paris: the Obelisk, which was a gift from Egypt to France.


Its golden cap—the pyramidion—was first made with electrum, which is an alloy of silver and gold and whose root gave us the word electricity. Electrum … electricity … light of PHARES.


Our sculpture can be considered as a “beacon of light” in the maritime sense; and since it’s also covered with a wave of car headlights, it’s therefore a “beacon of headlights": “un phare de phares" in French. It also relates to the pharos of Alexandria that was one of the 7 wonders of the Ancient World. 


PHARES illuminates the Obelisk—both metaphorically and physically—thanks to these L.E.D. headlights, which use 70% less energy than the previous generation. 

PHARES underlines the necessary energy transitions.



évolution des phares

The perfection of one moment is not any more important than one of the next day. 

Despite a height of nearly 100 ft. and a width of 45 ft., our pyramid PHARES is only 2% of the Obelisk’s weight.

This truncated pyramid is formed by 320 isosceles triangles made of aluminium, each equal in dimension to the pyramidion (12 ft. high), in order to reinforce the dialogue between the two structures… the dialogue between our two cultures.



Just as the Obelisk symbolizes a passage from Earth to Sky, PHARES transforms gradually in color: from grey at the base to gold at the top, where it merges with the gold of the pyramidion. 

PHARES plays with the natural light of day (sun’s reflections on the net) as well as night (moon, lampposts, light from vehicles).  

By using sophisticated surveying techniques, with accuracy down to the millimeter, we succeeded in building PHARES in perfect alignment with the pyramidion. This creates a new link: from the past to the present… and to the future.


PHARES illustrates the material and energy savings that are now possible thanks to the excellence, commitment and creativity of the companies that have made it in just 3 months.

PHARES is labelled by the international jury of "2015 International Year of Light" - UNESCO,  PARIS POUR LE CLIMAT” and "COP 21 /  CPM 11" - Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

During the COP21 and Valentine's Day in 2016, any passer-by can transmit his heartbeat directly into PHARES and this artwork will sparkle and illuminate the Obelisk in her or his heart rhythm. Energy as the life.



  light and limes of PHARES

 PHARES by night PHARES by night



- July 2015, the President of France expresses his support of PHARES.


- October, PHARES is installed on Place de la Concorde within one week. 


- October 22, the first wave of light of PHARES illuminates the Concorde.


- During the FIAC and the COP21, PHARES lights up to the rhythms of the heartbeats of passers-by thanks to a built-in sensor.


- February 2016, the Eiffel Tower, the Montparnasse Tower and PHARES illuminate at the same rhythm of one heartbeat. 


- June, PHARES leaves Paris for new adventures.


- October 3, PHARES is the only artwork shown at UNESCO Headquarters for the final report of the International Year of Light.