This set of six espresso cups and saucers was designed by Sophie Calle for Bernardaud. Each cup and saucer tells the same story in French of Calle's experience having lunch with a man whose intelligence at first paralyzed but who eventually revealed himself as a regular mind only to leave her feeling the fool. Told in Calle's quick, humorous voice the story carries through from the saucer to the cup.
The story reads (translated from French to English):
(Saucer) His intelligence paralyzed me. He invited me to lunch with him. In order to prepare myself, I asked him what we were going to talk about. A derisory exercise in vain, but I also knew that it would calm me. Point-blank, he asked a question: What makes you get up in the morning? I thought all week. When the day came, I turned to him and he answered the question:
(Cup) The smell of coffee. We changed the subject. At the end of the meal we were served coffee, and I took the cup as a souvenir.