The idiosyncrasies of Villa “Le Lac” Le Corbusier
© FLC / Le Corbusier / VISDA and Pierre Jeanneret, Charlotte Perriand / VISDA
Tekla continues to explore the colours of Le Corbusier with a limited collection of striped and checked blankets, crafted with a balance of vibrant and mellow tones taken from the architect’s Architectural Polychromy, and captured at Villa “Le Lac” Le Corbusier by Ben Beagent.
© FLC / Le Corbusier / VISDA
The striking patterns in the collection take inspiration from Villa “Le Lac” Le Corbusier – the home Le Corbusier designed for his parents in Corseaux, Switzerland.
Built in 1923 on the shores of Lake Geneva with views of the Alps, Villa “Le Lac” Le Corbusier is a humble, rectangular structure, made from simple, inexpensive materials like concrete and steel, flanked by railings that give the house the look of a ship’s prow.
Diametrically opposite the affluent city of Geneva and neighbouring tourist destinations for yachting Brits, Corseaux was a poor area at the time of construction. Predominantly populated by farmers and with little modern infrastructure, the avant-garde Villa “Le Lac” Le Corbusier appeared more like a work of science fiction against this agricultural background. A contrast exacerbated by the fact that, in the villa’s first few decades, it was accessible only by dirt road and powered by coal – which could only be delivered by donkey.
Le Corbusier chose this location, not because of its desirability or proximity to water – water-side locations were viewed as high risk at the time due to flooding and erosion – but because it was all he could afford. Despite his prominence, Le Corbusier had earned little money and the family had lost profits from the questionable sale of their first home. While this made Villa “Le Lac” Le Corbusier’s cheap location and materials a necessity, it also presented the architect with an opportunity to enact a personal belief: that everyone and anyone could have a home.
As such, Villa “Le Lac” Le Corbusier is an early example of the architect’s design principles, most notably that “a home should be the backdrop to life” – a “machine for living in.”
The building itself is remarkably small, measuring only 4 x 16m, yet appears much larger.
Le Corbusier achieved this through what would become his architectural signature, the blurring of boundaries between outside and in.
With an open floor plan and expansive window facing the lake, the landscape flows into the house, giving the impression you are inside and out at the same time. The landscape is as much a part of the home as the man-made structure, with the Alps on the horizon becoming the property’s limit.
This use of nature as an architectural tool is particularly highlighted by the Villa’s “Green Hall”, which features a garden wall with a window-sized space that offers a view of the surrounding lake and mountains. The wall’s purpose is to “frame” this landscape, tempering its overwhelming vastness by treating it as a painting. The placement of a table with two benches again demonstrates Le Corbusier’s artistic concern, offering two unique viewpoints depending on the seater’s position.
Villa “Le Lac” Le Corbusier also served as a testing ground for Le Corbusier’s colour theory, which would go on to form his Architectural Polychromy – colours from which form the basis of Tekla’s limited blanket collection. Throughout the structure, bold and balanced colours can be found, many in early versions of shades that would ultimately end up in his first colour palette.
As well as design principles, Villa “Le Lac” Le Corbusier is peppered with idiosyncratic details, created for all of the villa’s residents, which give a fuller image of who Le Corbusier really was. For example, the platform built for the family dog, just so he could continue barking at the neighbours after the main road’s construction forced Le Corbusier to build a wall that removed the dog’s access.
In Villa “Le Lac” Le Corbusier, the architect’s contrasts and contradictions are revealed in the bold colours and textures of the modernist structure, but also his oft-forgotten tender nature: a supposedly stern and humourless man who indulged pets with custom-made interiors; a concrete zealot whose use of nature remains his greatest asset. Tekla draws inspiration from these quirks as much as it does his legacy – from his impressive, modernist structures to the smaller, lived-in details inside.