City Moment – The Empty Table’s Memories, Rue du Buisson Saint-Louis
The memorable instant.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
His dining table can accommodate at least six and yet he is seated alone at the head of the table. There are five more people in the house but they are currently out.
One afternoon The Delhi Walla meets Phillipe Mollon-Deschamps at his home on rue du Buisson Saint-Louis in Paris. A graphic designer in his sixties, Mr Mollon-Deschamps’s residence was part of a public washhouse during the nineteenth century. He has been living here since 1983. The wooden table was bought in a furniture showroom a decade ago. Its chairs came a year later, and they have a story.
Mr Mollon-Deschamps was once developing a friend’s website for free. The friend was getting it done for the famous French designer and architect Philippe Starck. Shortly after completing the website, Mr Mollon-Deschamp went for a holiday to the Netherlands where he spotted a very stylishly chair. He immediate fell in love with the design; it turned out to be a Philippe Starck chair. Mr Mollon-Deschamp asked his friend if he could help him acquire similar chairs at concessional rates. Within days the friend got those chairs delivered at his own house on rue Jacques-Louvel-Tessier, and asked the graphic designer to collect them for… free.
Mr Mollon-Deschamp promptly moved the chairs from the friend’s street to his own on a wheelbarrow. He made two rounds.
Since then the chairs have seen many gatherings, though today there is no one to claim them beside their owner.
As the evening progresses, Mr Mollon-Deschamps, who is a keen photographer of family and friends, opens his MacBook and starts to scroll through the scans of photographs he has taken over the years. He stops at one picture. It shows a lot of people seated around this same table. Not one chair is empty. Mr Mollon-Deschamps says, “I always like many people in the house, eating at the same table… This meal took place in January, 2011.”
Suddenly, the empty table feels less empty. It is a beautiful moment.
The brief biography of a table