Apartment N°50 in Le Corbusier’s brutalist Cité Radieuse get its interior design makeover
Every other year, between April and October, design devotees Jean-Marc Drut and Patrick Blauwart generously hand the keys of their Marseilles apartment over to a contemporary designer, inviting them to fill the space with examples of their work. Of course, this isn’t just any old interior. Drut and Blauwart live in Le Corbusier’s brutalist 1952 Cité Radieuse housing complex in Marseille, France, in an apartment which they lovingly restored themselves.
The collaborations with designers began in 2008, and since then have welcomed design world heavyweights such as Jasper Morrison, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, Pierre Charpin and Alessandro Mendini through their doors.
This year, its the turn of Éloi Chafaï and Jean-François Dingjian of Paris-based Normal Studio to act out their interior design fantasies in the 98 sq m space. Chafaï and Dingjian have obligingly moved 30 of their designs produced over the last decade into Drut and Blauwart’s home. The selection includes mass produced pieces, some of which have never been shown in France before, and also one-off prototypes, like the ‘Ready Made’ lamp for Carpenters Workshop Gallery.
Also on display for the first time is a series of lights designed by the studio at CIRVA (the International Centre of Glass and Plastic Arts) in Marseille. ‘We’re used to seeing our pieces in large spaces such as our studio, or a factory,’ said the designers. ‘So this is one of the rare times we can see a large group of our projects brought together in a domestic setting.’
The pieces are arranged across the apartment alongside a few select pieces of the owners’ existing furniture, which the duo opted to keep in situ while others were removed. Wishing to celebrate the experimental Cité Radieuse in their selection, the duo included several research projects relating to concrete such as the ‘Périmètre’ table prototypes.
‘For Le Corbusier, this material was an essential theme. While he worked with it on an architectural scale, in a more brutalist manner, we’re using it in a more domestic sphere, moulded in paper or textile, which makes it look lighter,’ explained the designers nodding to their ‘Strat’ tables and their ‘Delicate’ concrete panel with its subtle patterning.
As is tradition, Drut and Blauwart will remain living in the apartment throughout the duration of the exhibition, and afterwards will select a few pieces to keep as part of their permanent collection.§