La lampe patate
The idea is very simple: a sack of potatoes falls over and lights up the crop that spills out.
Switched off, it is a quirky sculpture that leaves people questioning the presence of potatoes in this setting.
Lit up, it produces a soft, subdued light that flatters this new harvest.
This lamp deviates from the traditional desk lamp and glorifies a dull root vegetable.
By revisiting the ordinary, this lamp gives the starchy, tuberous crop the beauty and curiosity it lacks.
The potato base is moulded from a tinted mineral material, and hand painted.
The historical context
The potato was introduced to France by Antoine Parmentier midway through the 18th century.
Worried about the fate of the French, he thought this root vegetable would cure the successive famines hitting France.
Peasants were mistrusting of the plant that grew under the ground from the land of the devil rather than above it under God'eye, like grains.
This was a view upheld by the Catholic church, who would only receive a minimal tax on this food.
Despite all this, King Louis XVI believed in the culinary and satiating virtues of the potato and decided to support Parmentier.
To change the plant's image, the king transformed the central path of the Jardin des Tuilieries into a potato garden.
He then granted Parmentier land in the surrounding area of la Plaine les Sablons, in Neuilly, to expand the production.
The plantations were under armed guard by day,giving local residents the impression that this wasa rare crop, reserved for nobility.
At nightfall, the guards were under order to leave, the royal crops then deliberately left at the mercy of the people.
Commoners obviously then took advantage of the situation to take this precious lot for their own.
Today, the potato is definitively rooted in French culture and gastronomy..
" In memory of this clever ploy, the potato lamp is
a vestige of these night-time outings."