Le Corbusier's Maison du Brésil was built between 1956-1959 to house Brazilian intellectuals studying in Paris. The rooms were fitted with custom-made furniture designed in 1958 by Le Corbusier with his long-time collaborator Charlotte Perriand. It was the last project these two giants worked on together. This piece is a large oak wardrobe that served both as a storage unit for books and clothing, and also as a free-floating room divider. The painted side was intended as a headboard for a bed placed against it -- the square, asymmetrically-placed niche acting as a recessed night table for a resident scholar's books, radio, alarm clock, etc.
On the other side, there are sliding doors of painted steel which conceal shelves and a vertical area for hanging clothing, and a stack of nine colored drawers. Patented by Charlotte Perriand, these plastic drawers are design icons in their own right. Each is molded with the inscription "MODÈLE Charlotte Perriand / Breveté S.G.D.G." which demonstrates that they are of the same vintage as the rest of the piece, and not recently made re-edtions. Finally, there is also on this side (in the upper left-hand corner) a steel coat-hook, enameled in gray, which must have been very useful for tossing a jacket on to after a long night spent debating the fine points of some new theory, movie, or sculpture.
This original piece is a rarity, as it is one of only a few which were built specifically for the rooms in a single historic building. The responsibility for manufacture fell in 1958/1959 to the legendary Steph Simon, a visionary whose gallery was then home-base for some of the most important design figures of the time (Prouvé, Perriand, Noguchi, Jouve, Mouille, Yanagi).
The condition is excellent, with only the ordinary wear one expects of a 60-year-old piece of furniture. Additional photos are available on request.
La Maison du Brésil, Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris.
Elisabeth Vedrenne, Le Corbusier, Paris, 1998, pp. 66-67.
W. Boesiger, ed., Le Corbusier et son Atelier Rue de Sèvres 35, Œuvre Complète 1957-1965, New York, 1990, pp. 192-199.
Jacques Barsac, Charlotte Perriand: Un Art d'Habiter, Paris, 2005, pp. 466-468.