Parisian Daniel Gnaedig, creative designer for French porcelain manufacturer Bernardaud, assembles the “Haute Sphere” contemporary interpretation of the Nativity scene in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels last week before its U.S. debut presentation conducted by Archbishop José Gomez Dec. 7.

Conceived by award-winning architect Sylvain Dubuisson and crafted by Bernardaud, the interior of the geodesic dome “manger” is comprised of 48 triangular plaques, stars and the “halo” (representing the Christ child) all in hand painted or engraved porcelain. 

LED lights installed behind the porcelain plaques illuminate the “sky” decorated with five- and six-pointed platinum-coated silver stars hovering above the gold-embellished halo resting on a bed of sand representing the desert lands of Christ’s birth. The artwork’s surround-sound recording of chants in Aramaic, the language spoken by Jesus, heightens viewers’ experience of the Incarnation. 

First presented in December of last year at the Church of the Madeleine in Paris, the “Haute Sphere” has also been exhibited at the Basilica San Lorenzo in Milan in April and in the BAL (Fine Arts Museum) in Limoges, France from July to October. 

“It’s a unique artistic impression of the nativity,” said George J. Kakaty, president & CEO of Bernardaud North America, who accompanied Gnaedig for the 12-foot high artwork’s day-and-a-half assembly in the Cathedral. “It’s something very mystical and spiritual,” added Gnaedig. “It’s not the typical nativity scene, but with the lights and music, it’s something special.”

---Paula Doyle

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