In the March of 2012, conservators in MoMA’s sculpture conservation lab undertook a yearlong treatment of an original kitchen by Charlotte Perriand and Le Corbusier from the seminal urban construction the Unite d’Habitation. All of the kitchen components (including the drain!) were transported from Marseilles, France, to our lab in New York City, and reassembled for research and treatment.
Posts by Anne Grady
The Unité d’Habitation was a landmark in modern architecture and design, and one of the first attempts to create highly designed spaces for low-income families. Along with apartments, the building included a half floor reserved for merchants, a pre-school, and a rooftop playground with wading pool and gymnasium. Le Corbusier was extremely efficient in the use of space, modeling his design on that of cruise ships,
One of the initial challenges in conserving a design piece that has been in use for over 60 years is assessing where the work has been modified over the years by the owners, and if it is truly complete. Like in our own homes, parts of this Le Corbusier kitchen have been replaced, painted over, lost, and damaged.
In the fall of 2011, we traveled to a leafy suburb of Munich, Germany, to examine a kitchen that the Department of Architecture and Design hoped to purchase. When we arrived, there in the garage of a collector we found an assembled kitchen from Unité d’Habitation, Le Corbusier’s famous apartment building in Marseille.
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