Ceiling art made from beetle shells
The hall's ceiling, which has remained unfinished since 1909, was redecorated by the contemporary Belgian artist Jan Fabre. Fabre was inspired by Sternocera aequisignata, a type of jewel beetle of the Buprestidae family, which has a shimmering green iridescent shell. Fabre and 30 other diligent artist armed with a truck-full of beetle shells and glue, transformed the empty ceiling into one bejeweled with a sea of swirling and twinkling green. The team also went to work on the center chandelier in the hall, turning it from gilded gold to sparkling green. As one gazes up at the masterpiece from the floor, the whole mass of shells appears to move as the light reflects from different angles.
Jan Fabre calls the the ceiling Heaven of Delight, as a reference to ''The Garden of Earthly Delights'' by early Netherlandish painter Hieronymus Bosch ( a personal favorite of mine). The green shells do indeed add a great amount of energy to the once bland and vacant hall.
1.6 million beetle shells were used. The beetles, which are wood-boring and are mostly considered a pest, appears abundantly in India, Thailand, and Vietnam. They are sometimes cooked and eaten, however their beautiful shells are discarded.