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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sometimes it's just a cigar (or something else)

Maybe it was the day we realized the Météo France logo was a kind of pyramid encircling the globe, or the day the pyramid on the neighboring DSNA building revealed itself to us. It's hard to remember exactly. But, here, waiting for an appointment on the Météo France campus, we spotted another little rascal tucked away under a shelter designed to protect exiled smokers from the elements.

It can be read as an obelisk, but because of its height (about one meter), it is the pyramid which is most obvious; it is further emphasized by the pattern of triangles at the bottom (a lucky seven of them) and of course one at the top to evoke the eye of illuminating knowledge and reason.

In such a mundane functional object it's almost easy to overlook the pyramid entirely. It becomes a subliminal trigger to remind us of the larger pattern of geometric forms, especially triangles and pyramids, which make up an important part of the symbolism of the French scientific establishment.

Of course, we could just dismiss this as a fancy ashtray. It is that. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar....

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