Built in a spirit of postwar idealism, this compact and versatile space represented a modernist blueprint for independent living and an investment in citizens of the future. It was one of ninety-five such study bedrooms designed for Brazilian students at the Cité Universitaire in Paris. The university offered residence halls for different nationalities set in a landscaped park on the site of a former military base, with shared dining, cultural, and recreational facilities. Perriand was brought in to develop a modular scheme for the interiors of the Maison du Brésil, a building designed by one of her longtime collaborators, the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, and the Brazilian architect Lúcio Costa.
Perriand’s design combines durable industrial materials—aluminum, concrete, linoleum, Formica, and brightly colored plastics—with woods that would be familiar to students from Brazil. Areas of color on the walls and ceilings define zones for washing, sleeping or relaxation, and study. Perriand’s multipurpose furniture is ideal for small interiors: a room divider, for example, contains an integrated reading lamp, bedside cubby, bookshelf, wardrobe, and personal storage area, complete with colorful plastic trays on sliding racks, and the couch could serve as a seating area during the day and as a bed at night. “I’m very interested in the life of houses,” Perriand declared. “Everything is created from within, if you will—needs, gestures, a harmony, a euphoric arrangement, if possible, in relation to an environment.”
Publication excerpt from From MoMA Highlights: 375 Works from The Museum of Modern Art, New York (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2019)