Tuesday, May 10th, 2016
  • 1 (Bis) Rue de Chapon, Paris

    I’ve walked passed number 1 (bis) Rue Chapon in Paris on many occasions paying no attention to the address as I walk to Café Loustic, one of my favorite cafe’s in the city.

    The unremarkable green door not far from the end of the street offers no reason to linger. It is just another part of the unnoticed urban landscape. Had I stopped to look at the nameplate to the right of the door, I would have learned very little of what goes on behind the green door. “J.B. & S.B. Specialists” could hardly be less informative.

    The ‘specialists’ are Julien Berthier and Simon Boudvin and they’re behind the door in some respect, but not how you might think. In fact the door is not really a door at all. It’s façade, a piece of street art the pair installed one Saturday morning back in 2006.

    Built out of plywood and adhering to local architectural codes, the façade was assembled then glued to the otherwise blank wall in less than 30 minutes. Berthier and Boudvin intended it to be a temporary installation, a representation of the banal, yet potentially mysterious, doors and gateways that exist in our cities.

    A decade later and the piece is still there. It’s often been sprayed with ugly graffiti tags and as such the city of Paris has cleaned it as they do with much of the tagging that plagues Paris. I don’t know if the city expects to be paid for the cleanup work, but if they’re sending invoices to the address, they’re in for a long wait.

    Stand here using Google street view