The U.S. debut of “Haute Sphere,” a contemporary interpretation of the Nativity scene conceived by architect Sylvain Dubuisson and crafted by French porcelain manufacturer Bernardaud, will take place Dec. 7 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

A public presentation conducted by Archbishop José Gomez begins at 7 p.m. for “Haute Sphere,” which bears witness to the union of design and the technical and artistic savoir-faire of porcelain craftsmanship to present a modern perspective on the Nativity. 

“Haute Sphere” is a geodesic dome hand-crafted of 48 triangular panels of bisque porcelain with stars made of porcelain with platinum finish affixed to its interior and measuring 12 feet in height. Its impressive central feature is an engraved circular porcelain disc “aureole” with 24-carat gold finishes that rests on a bed of sand. 

The piece has variable lighting that dramatically illuminates the scene and is enhanced by pre-recorded chants in Aramaic --- the language spoken by Abraham, Moses and Jesus --- that lend a meditative quality evoking the mystery of the Christmas season for the spectator. 

This unique work was developed after Bernardaud was requested by the Church of the Madeleine in Paris to reprise a European tradition that dates back to the 13th century. In December 2010, it was first displayed at The Church of the Madeleine. 

 “Bernardaud had never turned its creative force to the objects or symbols associated with Catholics in the practice of their faith,” says 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. He received the National Grand Prize of Industrial Creation in 1990 and is also a professor at the School of Decorative Arts in Paris. 

Bernardaud is a family owned-and-operated company founded 1863 in Limoges, France and the premier manufacturer of French porcelain. The company is recognized worldwide for its commitment to the French traditions of refinement, innovation, and creativity in the crafting of porcelain tableware, interior design objects and lighting. 

“The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels provides a complementary backdrop to this unique and beautiful work of art,” says 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.” 

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