Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Thoughts of Restoration

I talked earlier about the Cinematheque Tangier, which has been lovingly restored by artist Yto Barrada+ her husband Sean Gullette. Walking through the streets of Tangiers you cannot help but indulge fantasies of restoring one of the amazing, old art deco or neo-classical buildings that are sadly in ruins all over the city. Fantasies of a new Miami or Nice, France float through my not-so-creative, but strong imagination. If 10-20 people took an initiative in Tangiers, like Sean and Yto, this city really could be revitalized, but unfortunately I don’t imagine it would happen for awhile. Still, M + I played around for an afternoon with the notion of taking over this old café that sits on a side street, just down from the “Chemin de Paresseux,” or the walkway of the lazy, the little stretch along the main route that has a beautiful look-out point over the ocean, where you can usually see the tip of Spain. The two-floor café has floor-to-ceiling windows that take in this view of the ocean as well. How perfect to construct an updated café on the top floor and a small bookstore or boutique downstairs? Keep it friendly for the old regulars but contemporize it for young people. Think of having such an excuse to buy loads of old tiles and furniture. Could it work? Well, perhaps—with major risks and huge commitment, but alas, my imagination and my reality have not yet found harmony, so Paris it will remain, for now.

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