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Reflections…domaine de boisbuchet

“Now we will count to twelve

  And we will all keep still

  For once on the face of the earth.”

Bois buchet-vaguely meaning ‘bouquet of wood’, echoes the sentiments of Nobel Laurette Pablo Neruda.

The domaine can only be experienced, not described, not represented.

It is as primordial and isolated a retreat as can get.

It is not a place where one can easily find others, but it is a place where you can find yourself.

It is an oxymoron- provocatively detached, intensely calming, eternally ephemeral, audaciously humble, naturally man made.

It embodies an extraordinary vision for design and its purpose for life on earth; it demonstrates an even more extraordinary commitment to realise it.

It shows by example, how to retain one’s persona and yet relate cohesively, harmoniously to proximally distanced personae.

The nearest beer and baguette are 3 kilometres away-30,00,000 millimetres if you ask ‘Don Carlos’!

The pavilions and their narratives reiterate a repertoire of technique par excellence, of unimaginable madness and an insane love for design.

There are hills, forests, meadows, a river and a lake here which have playing host to 25 workshops per year for 30 years.

Two amazing German gentlemen, one effusively gesticulating Spaniard (and two shy ones) and a French cook (whose English with the French accent gives Inspector Clouseau a run for his money) are the motley bunch of good souls who make the stay most memorable.

Just imagine…what it means to be one of the few blessed humans in the world to have availed the life-changing opportunity of being in boisbuchet for 12,42,000 seconds.

Reflections….the making of the pavilion

The making component of the pavilion was a lesson in what ‘antithesis’ means. The serene, reflective atmosphere that had initiated a somewhat cozy, intimate and leisurely routine for the first few days was rudely interrupted by the arrival of the ‘execution team’! Within moments teams got made-with friends separated and foes teamed up, tasks got allotted and work began with a flourish. Fortunately, students had been tinkering previously in the workshop and so got down to business swiftly.

The lessons in constructing a prototype, taking inventory and numbering the million components, in actually cutting and grinding and finishing hard metals and most importantly the coordination between what lay in the mind, in the computer and on site proved to be daunting but students coped well; partly because they had no choice and partly because indeed, they were inspired. Neither the freezingly cold and rainy weather nor the daftness of the earth mover (thanks to whom, precious time and energy were lost) could deter the students from completing it. Mentors were merciless and nature even more so. Often ill clothed for the bitterly low temperatures, perpetually hungry and sleep deprived (for reasons best known to them), students took each day at a time-meeting the immediate challenges and yet keeping the ridiculous deadline to finish at the back of their minds. A few occasions of wine and good food, great music and the camaraderie provided the necessary booster shots for survival.

In the end, one could see from the shining eyes of each and every participant, the newly adopted gait; demeanour suggestive of having scaled great heights after pushing the boundaries of their endurance. Hopefully the lessons learnt will remain in the dna for posterity. And the pavilion we left behind is already in conversation with the others cohabiting biosbuchet.

-LENA RAGADE GUPTA

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