Interior by Thomas Clerc

Interior by Thomas Clerc

Author:Thomas Clerc
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Office

(9 m2)

Boundary of the Establishment

Reinforcing the boundary between the living room and the office, a chair identical to the dining table chairs has been—intentionally—positioned with 2 of its legs on the living room side and 2 on the office side: this literalization of “sitting on the fence” is an homage to every awkward situation in human existence. This boundary-chair’s act of straddling is also a wink to this text’s vacillations between fiction and document; it keeps wavering, keeps refusing to be just an inert chair.

Brinkmanship

We’re on the brink of the office, but still haven’t entered. We contemplate this room facing off against the living room. We admire the view it offers thanks to the window at its far end, which, 3 meters away, overlooking the street, seems far bigger than it actually is. Because of this open border with the living room, the office may be seen as a wing of the latter, a draft of fresh air, of added space. The lack of a door is a positive boon. On the floor, between the boundary-chair’s legs, runs the mark of the erstwhile dividing wall. I could have hidden this scar on the floorboards by replacing it with a slat, but I prefer leaving it visible, like a rift, a dangerous precipice.

Conquest of Space

This office didn’t exist before (my predecessor was a hairdresser). In bringing down the dividing wall, I ran the risk not only of turning what had been sold to me as an authentic Parisian “3-room” apartment into a questionably “2-/3-room” apartment, but also of destroying the prospect of seclusion that a workspace offers or even necessitates. But the benefits of this opening were immeasurable; in adding to the living room’s surface area by connecting that of the office, I brought together 2 spaces already connected by their parquetries’ solidarity. And bringing down this wall was, above all, what allowed the light pouring in both from the street and from the courtyard to flood the entire space. This doubled source of light hits my office wonderfully from both ends. Thanks to a little demolition work, I was able to make this space wholly my own.

Threshold Threshold Threshold

Despite opening directly onto the living room, the office is set back enough that it’s a distinct space. As I’m not the same man when I’m eating and when I’m writing, I have to maintain a separate space in which eating is wholly forbidden: this distinction—in addition to my leaving the traces of the fallen wall in the floor, and building the squared-off portico with its 2 pillars recalling nothing so much as the entrance to a temple—is yet another way of marking out the otherwise intangible boundary between the 2 rooms. Because of this, and even though it’s right there, the office seems to be behind an invisible wall, so much so that I’ve even had people ask my permission to enter this open sanctuary, to cross a threshold that may not exist materially but certainly does symbolically. It’s also notable



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