The Cité radieuse in Marseille is perhaps the most famous example of Le Corbusier’s innovative post-war urban housing design known as the Unite d’habitation. The cast concrete building, protected by the French government for its architectural importance and under consideration as a possible UNESCO World Heritage site, is credited as a major inspiration for the Brutalist style. Among over 330 individual dwellings is Appartement 50, faithfully restored to its original condition by two design enthusiasts and now host to a rolling programme of art and design events.
Appartement 50 was recently the venue for an exhibition by a dozen Master Product Design students from the University of Art and Design Lausanne (ECAL). The 12 students began late last year with a three-day workshop residency at the Cité radieuse to get a feel for the place. They were then tasked with creating an object for the apartment, bearing in mind factors including the climate — for example the mezzanine fan and cushions designed to fit both inside and outdoor areas — the flexibility of the interior spaces, the public tours which regularly come through the apartment, and life in the communal areas (Le Corbusier designed the building’s roof terrace to serve as a social hub, and the folding chair and table is designed to be carried upstairs when necessary).