Born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret 125 years ago, Le Corbusier’s legacy as a designer, architect and writer is one of the most influential in the history of modernist architecture. So what then, would you give as a worthy birthday present to such a man?!
The home he designed for his parents, Villa “Le Lac” in Switzerland, was the country’s first modernist house and fulfilled three of the five tenets set out by Corbusier for new architecture: An open roof space that could be utilised for domestic purposes, a free design floor plan without concern for supporting walls and large, horizontal windows that would provide equal light to all rooms (the remaining points unused, but influential to his design – as with all of his designs – are supporting stills or pilotis which raise the bulk of the structure and replace structural walls, allowing free design of the façade; separate design of the exterior from the structural function of the building). So it’s a pretty special piece of work and what’s more, it’s specifically domestic: A home.
With this in mind, the industrial design programme at Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL) were challenged to create for the Jeanneret home and for Le Corbusier’s birthday, objects and furniture that might create a dialogue with the building by simultaneously enhancing the space and taking inspiration from it.
The resulting collection is respectfully, appropriately, beautiful in its execution. Elric Petit, the head of the programme, and designer/professor Chris Kabel ran the project with the direction of the curator of the Villa “Le Lac”, Patrick Moser. Together they championed the idea of an exhibition in situ that sees the potential for the items and go a long way in communicating each students consideration and intention for the thing.
Lights, shelving, hooks, sofas, rugs and ornaments – the products, as seen here in these pages from the project catalogue, are the simple, functional and mobile solutions to a design brief which has been realised as if it were set by the great man himself.