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Alessandro Mendini rethinks Le Corbusier’s Apartment in Cité Radieuse

Philippe Savoir and Fondation Le Corbusier

Italian architect and designer Alessandro Mendini was invited to furnish the interior of Appartement N°50 in the Unité d’Habitation of Le CORBUSIER in Marseille. The apartment has previously been fitted out by designers including Jasper Morrison, Ronan& Erwan Bouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, Pierre Charpin and l’ECAL (Ecole Cantonale d’art de Lausanne).

Listed as “Historical Monument” since 1985 the apartment opens its door to the public for a summer design exhibition. The aim is to confront the Le Corbusier heritage to the vision of a designer, by sharing the keys of this place kept in its historical authenticity.

With CORBU, 8 COLORS Alessandro Mendini has interpreted the space of this unique apartment with a great sensitivity and poetry. His iconic 1978 Proust armchair, the Amuleto lamp launched in 2o15 and one of the rugs he created recently for Joseph Carini Carpets, will interact with the original pieces of Charlotte Perriand and Le Corbusier, as a sign of colorful and friendly tribute.


“Finally I have the wonderful occasion to render homage to Le Corbusier with my delicate ‘performance’ inside the famous Appartement 50 at the Unité d’Habitation in Marseille,” says Alessandro Mendini. “I was stimulated by the spaces and the brilliant play of light, in addition the master’s use of color – warm, pictorial and essential to our sensorial enjoyment of the apartment. I selected eight colors similar to the ones he chose, and I made eight ceramic totems, each one painted with one of the eight colors. I positioned them on the railing that looks out over the living room below, with the aim of creating a diaphragm that acts on the modulation of sunlight. Then, with diagonal ribbons, I intersected the rhythm of the double-height wall panels, thinking to add a Japanese touch to the modular boiserie, which is similar to vertical tatamis.”


All the normal furniture of the apartment has been left in place, including the paintings and documents belonging to Le Corbusier that are always present here. In the magic of the two blue niches side by side, almost like Wunderkammern, Mendini placed some small polychrome objects to which he is particularly attached. “I call this display of mine a ‘performance’, because throughout its duration, it will be a presence acting with visitors to the apartment, favoring and accentuating their reading of it,” concludes Mendini.

The apartment will be open to the public from July 15th untill August 13th.

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images by Philippe Savoir and Fondation Le CorbusierADAGP