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Borne Béton Lamp Speaks to Le Corbusier’s Architecture

Corbusier Benton
Unite d’habi­ta­tion, Marseille

Le Corbusier , over his five-decade career, put forth a vision of design as an entity defined by strik­ing elemen­tal forms and driven by func­tion. The Swiss-French archi­tect dismissed styles of the past and unnec­es­sary orna­men­ta­tion. He focused his furni­ture designs on inex­pen­sive mate­ri­als that could be mass produced and devel­oped ambi­tious archi­tec­ture and plan­ning projects that promoted new ways of living. Le Corbusier’s point of view helped estab­lish the influ­en­tial Inter­na­tional Style and posi­tioned him as one of the central figures in modern design.

Born in 1887 in Switzer­land as Charles-Édouard Jean­neret-Gris, he first learned about art, archi­tec­ture, and crafts­man­ship when he attended the École des Arts Déco­rat­ifs at La Chaux-de-Fonds. Known for his writ­ings on design, he devel­oped his pseu­do­nym, Le Corbusier, when he began penning arti­cles for L’Esprit Nouveau in Paris in 1920.

He went on to complete notable struc­tures such as the United Nations head­quar­ters in New York City, which Le Corbusier designed along­side Oscar Niemeyer; the Villa Savoye in Poissy, France; and Unite d’Habitation in Marseille, France. The latter project was completed in 1952 in collab­o­ra­tion with Portuguese artist Nadir Afonso as part of an effort to respond to the housing short­ages in post-WWII Europe.

The first iter­a­tion of the Unité d’Habitation referred to as Cité Radieuse, was defined by the perva­sive use of béton brut” — raw concrete. The project was the first of a new housing series for Le Corbusier that focused on commu­nal living, creat­ing a space where the inhab­i­tants could shop, play, live, and come together in a verti­cal garden city.” The roof of the devel­op­ment func­tioned as a garden terrace that had a running track, club, kinder­garten, gym, and pool. Addi­tion­ally, there were shops, medical facil­i­ties, and a small hotel distrib­uted through­out the building.

Consid­ered the origin of the brutal­ist move­ment, the Unité d’Habitation was deco­rated with raw concrete lamps that illu­mi­nated common areas shared by tenants of the complex. Those lights, called Borne Béton, were also used in Le Corbusier’s Bhakra Dam and Sukhna Dam projects in Chandi­garh, India. Reis­sued by NEMO and avail­able here at Context Gallery The lamp is a hand­crafted product; slight differ­ences make each one unique. Avail­able in two sizes — a large floor version and a small table version —the Borne Béton is suited for indoor or outdoor use. Its simple design speaks to the lyri­cism of form and refined func­tion­al­ity that is evident both in the Unité d’Habitation project and Le Corbusier’s oeuvre at large.

Corbusier
Le Corbusier, Unité d’Habitation
Nemo Borne Beton Petite
Borne Beton, Petite Lamp

Nemo Borne Beton Petite Context 4 1
Borne Béton Petite
Le Corbusier
Care of Fouth Wall 

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