la grande table
Fig. #01. “La Grande Table Du Monde” installed across the Potager du Roi, the royal gardens of King Louis XIV — Versailles, 2022.
Since their very foundation, the royal gardens of Versailles were chosen as the perfect locations for hosting grand parties and spectacular entertainments. Under the government of the Sun King, the act of partying itself not only standed as a celebrative ritual — moreover, it truly symbolized political power and worked as a collective platform to debate and perform contemporary paradigms.
The three most important celebrations that Louis XIV gave at Versailles, in 1664, 1668 and 1674, immediately became the subject of detailed descriptions, reinforced with engravings which fix the most remarkable moments. These descriptions, republished over several years, contributed to the growing fame of the residence that the king had chosen.
Fig. #02-04. Collation donné dans le petit Parc de Versailles / Festin donné dans le petit Parc de Versailles / Cinquiéme Journée. Feu d'artifice sur le Canal de — Jean Lepautre, 1668.
Among the objects displayed after the XVII Century Parties hosted in Versailles, the «Grande Table» certainly stands as an iconic piece. Setting up its own spatiality, it always involves and influences social relations according to its form; its political role indeed is undeniable, given parties were (and still are) a powerful tool to question our world.
How could the World be celebrated around a table? Which rituals and symbols should it display, and which narrations would it unfold to those who seat around it?
Fig. #05-07. Landscape view and detail of the mountain’s surface from La Grande Table Du Monde — Versailles, 2022.
«La Grande Table Du Monde» is a 25 meters long table which hosted 100+ diners across Le Potager du Roi, in Versailles. It was designed and crafted together with Superstudio’s co-founder Gian Piero Frassinelli for an inedited Party organized at the Château de Versailles from 4-9 July 2022. The Table displays a mountain, a majestic continental surface, whose pieces (continents) drift across its whole length: a narration that resembles the fading of Pangaea over Earth, wrecked from the inside and endlessly floating. On the opposite side, a pyramid is born (built) from the mountain's very matter — an allegory of extractive processes, perpetrated by those who sit and eat voraciously around the "Table of the World".
Fig. #08-09. Views of the debris and the pyramid that inhabit the table — Potager du Roi, Versailles 2022.
The École d’été was curated by Architecture duo Nous in collaboration with ÉNSA Versailles. Among external contributors Gilles Clément, Saskia Sassen, Philippe Rahm, Saint Michael, Béatrix Saule, Cédric Libert, Gian Piero Frassinelli, Jack Self, Emeric Tchatchoua, HPO, Nicolas Dorval Bory, Guillaume Ramillien, Kaitlyn Reinhart, Frédérique Aït-Touati, Jean Lebrun and Hans-Walter Müller.
Fig. #10-13. Details of the artifacts and decorations placed on the table for the party: crust, royal cups, the pyramid. — Versailles, 2022.