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The World’s Largest Digital Art Center Is Opening Inside a WWII Submarine Base in France

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Scheduled to open on April 17, 2020, Les Bassins de Lumières will be housed in a concrete bunker that was built in 1943 by Bordeaux’s occupying Germans.

Courtesy of Culturespaces

Scheduled to open on April 17, 2020, Les Bassins de Lumières will be housed in a concrete bunker that was built in 1943 by Bordeaux’s occupying Germans.

A former bunker in Bordeaux is being transformed into a permanent exhibition space featuring digital art installations on the venue’s walls and reflected in the water of its enormous basins.

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As the hub of France’s famous fine-wine-growing region and one of the few historic urban areas to be recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Bordeaux is already an extremely attractive destination for people with varied interests. When a permanent exhibition space dedicated to digital art installations opens in a former World War II submarine base in the port city, travelers will have yet another enticing reason to consider an upcoming visit.

Les Bassins de Lumières (The Ponds of Lights) will be housed in a concrete bunker that was built in 1943 by the German military occupying Bordeaux; it used the structure to store a submarine fleet shared with Italy during the war. Inside the transformed space, which is slated to open on April 17, 2020, visitors will walk across gangways (narrow passageways) above four 40-foot deep basins in the former submarine base, each of which measures approximately 360 feet long—the length of a U.S. football field. Immersive digital installations take over the towering walls of the landmark building, with artworks reflecting off the water in its enormous basins, or “ponds.”

The digital installations will include high-tech projection of works by influential artists such as Gustav Klimt and Paul Klee, whose creations will be the focus of the opening exhibitions.

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The masterminds behind the overhaul of this historic structure in Bordeaux—which, when it opens, will be the largest digital art center in the world—is the French museum and exhibition operating studio known as Culturespaces. Most recently, the studio debuted a digital exhibit devoted to installations of Van Gogh’s artworks at the Atelier des Lumières in Paris (which ran through January 5, 2020). Similarly, Bordeaux’s digital art center will showcase high-tech projection of works by influential artists: Its opening displays will focus on Gustav Klimt, the late-19th-century Viennese painter who led the Vienna Secession, and Paul Klee, a Swiss German artist who taught at the famed Bauhaus art institution and was known for his depictions of expressionism, cubism, and surrealism. (Both exhibits will run through December 31, 2020.) However, the Les Bassins de Lumières exhibitions—which the Culturespaces team says will rotate each year—will be displayed across a surface area five times larger than that of the Atelier des Lumières in Paris. 

Within the former submarine base, large-scale projections of famous artworks will reflect off the water in enormous basins, or “ponds.”

The exciting digital art center will also feature newly constructed areas beyond the former bunker’s four submarine basins, including a 30-foot-high space dedicated to installations by up-and-coming digital artists, as well as an educational museum that outlines the former submarine base’s distinct history. After its April 2020 debut, the immersive digital art space will be open to the public seven days a week, year round. 

It isn’t hard to predict that this WWII-bunker-turned-digital-art-center will be a massive hit among travelers. For one, Bordeaux is reachable from Paris in only two hours by train. What’s more: The future exhibition space merges two increasingly popular travel trends that we personally love—mind-blowing digital art museums dedicated solely to tech-art installations, and the concept of adaptive reuse, which focuses on repurposing old structures for new operation as hotels, restaurants, or in this case, impressive spaces to display art. 

Visitors to Bordeaux’s digital art center will walk across narrow passageways above four 40-foot deep basins in the preserved WWII landmark.

>>Next: Tokyo’s Digital Art Museum Is Designed to Blow Your Mind

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