Photos and interview by Râm Legrand
Illustrations by Brokovich
Paul Anguenot and Mickael Clebert both live in Haute-Savoie, France, just near the Swiss border. It’s exactly at Ville-La-Grand, a small town next to Geneva, that they built their spot named Café Cramé. As most of DIY, the spot is always evolving in its construction and its artistic decoration, Café Cramé never sleeps!
How did you find this place and who got the idea to do a spot inthere ?
Paul: Mick and I were fully on some spot check, rails, transitions… And also doing some DIY that were always destroyed. The Ville-La-Grand industrial zone was the perfect place to make something hapen, because you don’t disturb and nobody cares what you do. Mickeal found this warehouse, abandoned for many years after it burnt. I saw this spot burning whit a friend, it was hard to imagine something done in such an apocalyptic landscape.
Mickael: It’s hard to find a waste ground in Haute Savoie. Someday I passed by this place that didn’t seemed abandoned. I went inside, and directly thought DIY !!! So I called my homies to help building.
P: The most out of round room as a super smooth flat, a perfect spot to skate indoor. With such a bargain, we had to make something inside.
What was this place before ?
P: We found some clues that showed it was a chemical product and ultrasound cleaning company in the 70’s, and then a food stock firm. The owner of the last firm burned all his out of date coffee stock to get the insurance money. Café Cramé, the spot’s name comes from this. But the insurer found out the fraud and now the owner is juged. Anyway this place has a heavy past…
When did you start building?
M: All started in march 2016. We built one transition, then two, then three… First one took us to 4 in the morning. It was pretty scary cause the place is ghetto as hell !
How were you organised and did you find some working force ?
M: I lend my ghetto-car to carry the raw materials and a bunch of guys came to help us.
P: At the begining it was just Mick some bmxers and I. The crew growed with time. I was doing all the formwork and we used some old coffee capsules to make some stuff and it happened to work perfectly to shape. We had a room where we were making the concrete, we took the water in the flooded basement, and we took some backfill outside (surounded by wild tomatoes). There is also a mezzanine to chill, listen to music and eat some BBQ.
The fox? Tell us about the young fox !
P: We found a dead fox just near a wine bottle (maybe dead from ethylic coma…). Then we understood that we weren’t alone after that we saw some little fox foot prints in the fresh concrete, murderous thought…
We found that the prints belonged to the dead fox two kids, they lived in one of the warehouse room, on some coffee boxes.
One of them was really fearfull, while the other was really nice. We tried to tame him with some food, so he started to come closer. But in the end he died ! We missed him, so fitted out a chicken coop, we called them « Jackie et Michelle » they never layed any eggs… Then a rabbit… And now, the chicken coop is occupied by an artist.
M: The fox, how can I say… It was really rad. I even visit him after work, we cohabited for a month, and overnight no more fox!
Who else knows about your spot ?
P: Graffiti artists and squatters end up there. This place is also liked by gipsys who come and take a shit and get some materials for resale. The owner knows what happen there. He found it pretty cool.
Do you know if the place will be there for a long time ?
P: With all the legals stories around the warehouse, I think that we are quiet for sometime. The cops are cool with it, the only important thing is that we don’t own weed.
M: Time will tell…
What are the future projects ?
M: I draw a plan, hang it on a wall. Only Transition !
Additional photos Julien Paccard