Most Loved... August 16
Posted on: 30/08/2016

Most Loved... celebrating design objects, places and buildings that have a special place in my heart. There are no specifics as to what might turn up here. It’s a collection of random musings. Things that have caught my eye, from the mundane to the spectacular.

As a regular feature, there will be an eclectic mix of the personal and the professional from my life along with the occasional foray into the meanderings of my creative mind.

For this post I have chosen a simple concrete sign. There's a natural connection to the first post in that I discovered this little gem whilst wandering around Hesdin, a small market town in Northern France. I have always been something of a flâneur.

Café in Concrete Architectural Photographer

I first visited Hesdin when I was staying with friends in Bouret sur Canche. Bouret sur Canche is a quaint village in the Canche Valley, twenty minutes or so from Hesdin. I was in my early twenties and, at that time, Hesdin was a busy market town. The town square was the site of regular markets and although markets are still held there, the town has succumbed to the inevitable decline in employment in the area. Things have changed.

The main square is still flanked on one side by the town hall with it’s magnificent bellfry whilst the cobbles of the perimeter roads are edged with cafés and small restaurants. It is quintessentially French.

I made a return visit to Hesdin in 2008 as I had previously and, indeed, since. I like the town. During my visit in 2008, I was wandering down the various side streets and roads around the town, as is my habit. It was a hot, lazy afternoon and I was enjoying my stroll, punctuated, as it was, by the occasional, passing greeting with a few locals.

Having wandered into a lesser known area, I stopped to get my bearings and, looking around I noticed this Art Déco café sign cast into the facade of a building. I’m a great fan of Art Déco and this was a real treat for me. I appreciate that it’s perhaps not the finest example of Art Déco. To me that makes it all the more special. It’s honest. And presumably, it has managed in some way to avoid the massive destruction of this area during the Second World War.

Of course, there is no café here now. No other evidence, in fact, that there was ever a café here. It’s not a shuttered shop front. There are no ‘A Vendre’ signs. The intrigue for me is, what changed and when? What was it that caused the demise of this café in this small town. I retraced my steps to the main square and, seeking shade under the umbrellas of one of favoured haunts, I pondered my new discovery to the bottom of a nicely chilled bière blonde, thrilled by a simple find in a much loved town.

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