The perforated surface of the “Solar Orb” is made of 149 gilded aluminium panels. Gold stands for longevity and value, and represents the sun, a universal symbol of life.
Inside the orb, which measures five meters across, there is a crystal-shaped stainless steel column built to hold 149 personal wooden commemorative spheres. The crystal has five sides: one for each of the victims’ home continents.
The sculpture was officially presented to the relatives in Le Vernet on 24 March 2017, the second anniversary of the tragedy, and was installed in September 2017 at the crash site. A "Solar Portal" installed on the Col de Mariaud frames the view of the memorial from the other side of the valley (700 m linear distance). The view through the portal links the visitors’ platform with the crash site. The actual crash site will remain permanently closed to visitors.
This “Solar Orb” is the work of German sculptor Jürgen Batscheider.