Heavenly Vaults: Virtual Reality Ceiling Installation in a Gothic Cathedral

The ceilings of Paris’ Saint Eustache Church are once again alive and flickering with a surreal display of abstract imagery as artist Miguel Chevalier projects ‘Voûtes Célestes’ onto its vaults, nave and transepts. Installed for the annual Nuit Blanche (All-Nighter) event, the live light show flashes, ripples and glows along to musical improvisations by the church’s organist, envisioning imaginary sky charts created by Chevalier in real time.


Blankets of stars and other celestial bodies glimmer in the dark, transected by neon lines in green, red and yellow that crackle light lightning and ripple as if being blown by wind. The lights interact with the architecture of the church, blurring its actual form and creating trompe l’oeil effects. At times, the entire ceiling seems to disappear, putting on display an imaginary sky full of colorful lights.




“These suspended universes accentuate one’s impression of the monument’s loftiness and lightness,” says Chevalier. “Visitors are invited to stroll around, to sit in the pews, and to lift up their eyes toward the heavens. These digital constellation of pixels immerse visitors in an atmosphere bathed in light while opening unto infinity.”




“The installation releases radiant energy into this space of plentitude. Amplified by Saint Eustache’s organ music, the installation induces a spiritual and contemplative feeling of elevation. Light, color and movement create a poetics of matter and elaborate a new aesthetics of virtuality.”