The Exposition Universelle in Pariscelebrated the arrival of a new century. Countries from around the world were invited to present their achievements and lifestyles, the similarities and differences between them. The fair has not reached a planned financial success, as not enough tickets were sold. And it was said the price of the entrance ticket was too high.
The Monumental Gate
Many of the buildings constructed for the exhibition were demolished after the fair was over. One of them was the controversial Porte Monumentale on the Place de la Concord, the triumphal gateway with fifty six ticket offices for exhibition visitors. Created by the architect René Binet as an iconic work of art it's design was inspired with animalistic and floral shapes, the cells of a beehive, vertebrae of a dinosaur, peacocks and for its strange shape it was suprisingly disliked by the exhibition visitors and soon nicknamed »La Salamanda« because of its similarities with the stocky and intricately designed salamander-stoves of the time from the brand of the same name. La Porte Monumentale was considered as the ugliest, tasteless and ridicule of all the exhibits. And this was not the end of the failure. At the top of the gate stood a fifteen foot statue called “la Parisienne” designed by the sculptor Paul Moreau-Vauthier. The statue raised a lot of of criticism and was regarded as vulgar and »the triumph of prostitution« because of her flowing robe and modernized figure.
Concept and Structure
Most of temporary buildings of the fair were built on a framework of wood, and covered with staff and after the fair was over they were demolished and many of items and materials were sold or recycled.
The structure of the gateway and two side minarets were built of iron framework. The gateway was consisted of a dome and three arches and as a whole adorned with Byzantine motifs and Persian ceramic ornamentation and colored glass cabochons. The gate was covered with 3200 blue and yellow small electronic lights.