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A Brass Table

From The Sea Library







多年後,我有了一位愛看海也愛閱讀的小小兒子。他幾乎每天也會央求去看海,幸好我們居住之地跟海邊只有十分鐘之隔。天氣稍一暖和,我們便會向著海洋方向牽手走去。每當看著那個間或平靜間或洶湧的大海,我便會想起位於日本瀨戶內海粟島圖書館內的這張黃銅書桌,那是2013年由Art Setouchi委任ETAT ARKITEKTER設計的其中一件圖書館物件 —— 它一直只存在於我的想像國度,卻也成了我最渴望擁有的東西。


Last week, I went all the way from Buenos Aires to that small island in Japan, in order to find that Sea Library which I have always yearned for. As you know, Bourges once said, “Library is the door of time.” What he meant was, once you enter a library, walk among the bookshelves and choose the book you love, you will take it to a quiet corner, sit down to read, and let yourself enter its world.

We both probably understand that, he was talking about a spiritual journey. However, let me tell you, this library can indeed allow you to travel through time and space.

Let me try to explain: Inside this library, there is a huge brass reading table placed at the centre of the room. The brass table top is slightly wavy and it reflects the trees’ silhouettes outside the windows all day long. Whenever I sit down and put a book on top of it to read, I have this wonderful illusion of being embraced by the sea, as if I’m swaying in the water with a peaceful feeling.

The first time I felt this way, i told myself, this is it.

Many years ago, after reading La Casa de Papel by the Argentine novelist Carlos M. Dominguez, I had written a story about a girl who loves the sea and libraries, and longs to travel around the world to look for her ideal quiet place. Inside that novel, there is this line:

“What is desire? In my opinion… It’s about finding its limit, which is never easy.”

Many years later, I have a little son who loves both the sea and also books. Almost every day, he will beg to go and watch the sea. Fortunately, we live only ten minutes apart from the beach, so whenever the weather is warm, we will stroll towards the sea, hand in hand. At those moments, when I watch the sea with my son, whether it’s calm or rough, I will think of this brass table located at The Sea Library on Awashima Island in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan. It was one of the items which ETAT ARKITEKTER was commissioned to design by Art Setouchi in 2013. It has always only existed in my own imagination, and is also what I most desire to have.

Perhaps one day, when I’m watching the sea with my son, I will tell him the story about this table, and then we will decide to visit this Sea Library, hand in hand. There, we will watch that sea, and compare it with the one near our home.