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THIERRY BOUET | Spring 2008

“I have this deep connection with bed and I wanted to find out if there was anything wrong with me. Now that I have seen more than 80 beds, I know that there are stranger people than me out there.” 

“The first time bed became a special place, I was at boarding school. There were 80 of us in the dormitory and my bed suddenly became my refuge, the only place I felt was my own. Those were my sheets, my blankets—it was my sanctuary. In that rather hostile world my bed was a raft and I felt safe there. I mean it, at that point in my life, the best place I got to spend any time was in bed.”

“I also went scouting and I remember getting soaked in a storm and spending the night on bales of straw in a barn, shivering with cold. You know, sleeping on straw is incredibly uncomfortable. Later, in the army, I sometimes slept in really awful places, in the freezing snow. That’s when I realised how much bed matters to us all.”

“While everyone sweats and scraps and hustles, I live by a different code. Bed is the most important piece of furniture in our lives. It is the door to our thoughts and to boundless contemplation. You are born in bed and, all being well, you will die there too. When people say ‘he died in his sleep’ they mean that his death was a peaceful one.”

“It took me a whole year to find the first eight beds, which was a bit of a struggle. But then I met a journalist who did some real research and in the two years that followed, thanks to her, I went from eight beds to more than 80. Each picture is staged because I wanted to photograph the beds with their users in the way they wanted and, obviously, people weren’t going to ask me to their houses in the middle of the night.”

“Bed is where you lose consciousness, so you should put your trust in it— because it carries you while you are in oblivion. And don’t forget the pleasure of being in bed. It is a universal pleasure—it belongs to everyone, unless they sleep on the pavement. And when I say pleasure, I mean sleep, dreams, love. That is why I photographed the collection of beds I called the ‘Theatre of Dreams’.” ~ Odette Audebeau

AN ANONYMOUS DANCER
An anonymous dancer from the Moulin Rouge on a Chinese bed with a mirrored ceiling. It was ordered by another dancer in her building, which has since become a “rendez-vous” hotel.  Paris, 9th arrondissement

HIPPOLYTE ROMAIN
Hippolyte Romain is an illustrator and Sinophile. This Mandarin bed was imported in 700 bits and assembled by Chinese craftsmen.  Paris, 18th arrondissement

ALAIN PASSARD
Alain Passard, chef at L’Arpège in Paris, in the middle of the vegetable patch where he sleeps in the summer. Fille-sur-Sarthe, near Le Mans

PAOLO CALIA
Paolo Calia is an artist who got a taste for the baroque when he was working as a set-designer for Fellini in the 1970s. He sleeps in one bed and keeps another for sex. Paris, 13th arrondissement

MONSEIGNEUR JEAN-BERNARD DE CAZENAVE
Monseigneur Jean-Bernard de Cazenave is an archimandrite in the French-speaking Syriac Orthodox community. In winter he sleeps in an enclosed Béarnais bed from the late 18th century. In summer he moves to the north side of the house, and a bed from the time of Louis XVI. Ferrières in the Pyrenees

GILLES EBERSOLT
Gilles Ebersolt specialises in off-the-ground constructions. The Ballule has hurtled down Mount Fuji and the couloir of the Aiguille Noire de Peuterey near Mont Blanc. At rest, it serves as a water-borne sleeping capsule. Limousin

PATRICK-LOUIS VUITTON
Patrick-Louis Vuitton on a trunk-bed invented by his great-grandfather and produced by the family firm. The original design was made at the end of the 19th century for the explorer Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza. Forêt du Perche, Normandy 

GÉRARD DE VILLIERS
Gérard de Villiers, author, wanted his room to look like a pre-war brothel—mirrors and all. Paris, 16th arrondissement

CHLOÉ BLUM
Chloé Blum likes a life of repose. Her bed, designed by Jean Royère, is the only furniture in her new apartment. So she lives lying down. Paris, 1st arrondissement

BRUNO LEDOUX
Bruno Ledoux, an estate agent, on one of Napoleon’s camp-beds. Paris, 7th arrondissement

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