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Daniel Cid
Elisava Design School

Sentado y al lado de una lámpara

At home, anything unplanned and unexpected, anything adventurous, is the exception. That’s as it should be. There we’re on our own, recuperating from everything outside. There we create our own surroundings, or own point of reference. It’s something we create but also a game. It’s built and rebuilt, as we move furniture, change lamps. It’s a leisure activity, it’s true, but constrained in spaces that are almost always limited. Often very limited. But to live, in the sense of “a place to live”, is born of limitation. But limitation in turn can stimulate inventiveness. Home, as a project, is built up of an accumulation of varied experiences and trials. The corners are given more emphasis and a light is put here and there.

The click of a lamp lighting up has something in common with the idea of creation (as a mirror has with a copy).

I’ve just read a novel by Edmond de Goncourt. You enter this book as you go into a house, through the door, and bit by bit, page by page, you make a scrupulous tour of the rooms. In fact it’s about his house and the enormous collection he kept there. One of the objects he describes is a Persian tapestry he had invented for a novel which he later happened upon in a shop. He bought the original of the imagined tapestry and swiftly hung it on the wall and described it again. The house doesn’t exist any more and all that’s left of the tapestry is the two literary versions. Life imitates art.

Every time you move into a place you do so with a load of furniture, but also with mental baggage based on past experiences. But it seems that not all interior designers are aware of this; I don’t know why so many of them insist on finishing things that aren’t their concern. The place where one lives does not exist on its own.

A book has come out, Hospital 106, 4t 1a. It is the story of an apartment that disappeared as a result of the big urban renewal projects in the Raval district of Barcelona. I remember strolling though my old district in the late nineties. A lot of buildings had just been demolished, but they still had traces of the former occupants on the party walls. Here a green room, there the tiles of the bathroom, there the remains of wallpaper. It is as though the life in those rooms resists being torn down completely.

The protagonist of La Nuit juste avant les forêts by Bernard-Marie Koltès tells us that if someone were to give him a furnished apartment for free, the kind of apartment where families live, he would turn it into a hotel bedroom as soon as he arrived. If someone were to give him a cabin in the woods with enormous beams and a fireplace, the first thing he would do, he tells us, would be to turn it into a hotel bedroom. He would hide the fireplace, disguise the beams and throw out the smell of family, of old wood and of the hundred thousand years of age that scoff at everything.

Sitting next to a lamp, looking at the corners of the room or the spines of the books on the shelves, I think I should write something for Ramón. Someone once compared friends to lamps, placed here and there, fromtheir homes they widen the landscape.

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