Le Corbusier’s Cabanon reconstructed, London
66 Portland Place
Though we’re not sure there’s ever been a time when Le Corbusier was out of fashion, it’s fair to say he’s having quite a moment right now. With a retrospective at the Barbican (fresh from Liverpoool) and a new set of prints by Stefi Orazi, Cassina have reconstructed a 1:1 replica of his Cabanon at RIBA’s HQ in London.
See more of the reconstructed Cabanon
Eagle-eyed Wallpaper* devotees will remember we visited the original Cabanon or Unité de Camping - at Cap Martin in the south of France back in 2006 (W*73). Cassina, as part of its ongoing I Maestri initiative (which started with Le Corbusier himself in 1964), first reconstructed the Cabanon at Salone del Mobile in 2006. It has since travelled to Tokyo and Zurich before its arrival in London.
See more from our W*73 shoot of the original
Famously, the architect sketched plans for the cabin in just 45 minutes, perhaps not as much of a feat as it seems when you see the 14 square metre studio space. Size and complexity were never Le Corbusier’s priorities and Le Cabanon is important, not because of how long (or short) a time it took to sketch, but as an exquisite concentration of the architect’s dictum on minimal living.
Constructed from pine boards and decorated with bright murals, the Cabanon was the only building Le Corb built for his own use, though originally it was intended as a present for his wife Yvonne Gallis. He holidayed in the sparse, single-bedded studio each summer until his untimely death and it has since become an icon for architectural devotees of an anti-consumerist persuasion.
Stepping into the reconstructed Cabanon in RIBA’s Art Deco Florence Hall it’s just about possible to suspend your imagination (helped in no small part by projections of the Cap Martin views on the windows) and understand what Le Corb wanted from the monastic space and why he loved it so much.