After queuing for quite a while out in the cold aside a glacier gray Gothic inspired chapel, I find myself in a cozy, warm wooden surrounding engraved with great religious art that surrounds the walls and ceilings. Then a sudden illuminating gemstone inspired glass blinds me. I was literally caught off guard for what I saw, when I entered the chapel. I am a religious believer, though not in the christian faith, so it’s not the norm that I visit chapels religiously, so I was really amazed. I visited chapels for projects, but never this beautiful.
The chapel itself is small, but once you go upstairs it opens up into a large room with heavyweight, gorgeous, stained glass windows that tells the story of the christian religion; it felt like I was in a mineral cave. With the light coming through down the alter, it gave me the chills. There was a heavenly feel that connects you closer to god. Once you enter the ground floor you feel overwhelmed by the curves and arched walls and ceilings in dark blue and gold, and the display of statues and ornaments that is engraved. Then you move up the tiny stairs and get surprised by the even more impressive sight. Upon entering is a 50 meter high church hall, completely walled by the gemstones inspired stained glass; an amazing, religious experience.
The colors as bright as possible flared up the room by the little sunlight that there was on this day. However the tiles and patterns on the floors breathe the arts and crafts aesthetic through the exterior Gothic architecture. I then agreed that light has a real significance in interior beauty. I believe that the many gemstone inspired stained glass seem to change color every hour with the sunlight rays bouncing back and forth, that opens up the details and clear vision of the statues of Christ’s at the base and of the angles above. The holy space of Sainte Chapelle is a sacred place because it demonstrates requirements of a sacred space through design and its manipulation of light and structural arrangement.
Though within designing a sacred space the quality, manipulation, and effect the light had within the chapel was very important in creating a spiritual atmosphere, which the architect has captured in a great form. The luminous beauty of Sainte Chapelle’s stained glass windows amazed its twenty first century visitors, as myself.