Dive into the future: the new Bassins de Lumières in Bordeaux

A great event is coming! In spring 2020, Bordeaux’s former submarine base will be transformed into a vast centre of digital art called Les Bassins de Lumières, hosting immersive exhibitions. As at the Carrières de Lumières in Provence and the Atelier des Lumières in Paris, here visitors will walk ‘in’ the works of art as they are projected in 360°.

Raw concrete, steel, water, darkness, a fascinating history... in the Bassins à Flots district in Bordeaux, the submarine base is an extraordinary place. An enormous construction of 42,000m² on the banks of the Garonne, this bunker of almost 20 metres deep was built by the Germans to house submarines during the Second World War.

Organised across 11 cells separated by thick concrete walls and linked together by an interior walkway, the base regularly hosts temporary exhibitions, concerts and shows in a very ‘underground’ atmosphere.

Journey to the heart of the paintings

In the spring of 2020, four of these watersheds – measuring 100 metres long, 22 metres wide and 12 metres high – will house one of the largest multimedia installations in the world. The footprint of the Bassins de Lumières is five times that of the Atelier des Lumières which opened in Paris in 2018, and twice that of the Carrières de Lumières, the first digital and immersive art centre installed by Culturespaces in Les Baux-de–Provence in 2012.

Thanks to AMIEX (Art & Music Immersive Experience), the Bassins de Lumières will have visitors ‘travelling’ to the heart of the paintings, accompanied by music. Following Klimt last year, Van Gogh is the new immersive focus at the Atelier des Lumières and Carrières de Lumières for 2019.

According to the same principle, the paintings and sculptures of some of art history’s greatest masters will unite here in Bordeaux, with the magic of 100 video projectors and thousands of digitised images, against the monumental architectural backdrop of the submarine base.

Reflection and contemplation

Adding to the magic, projections will be reflected on the water of the four huge pools, which can be witnessed from the overhanging bridges and along the quays. Spectacular!

Throughout the year, the Bassins de Lumières will display several other exhibitions at the same time: the main digital art exhibition will coexist with digital creations by contemporary artists installed in a separate dedicated space called The Cube.

For its opening in spring 2020, the Bassins de Lumières promises a “very big name and a very beautiful projection”. Watch this space…

Les Bassins de Lumières in Bordeaux