The research paper focuses on ‘Pavillon L’Esprit Nouveau’ as a quintessence of Le Corbusier conceptualization of modern architecture and design. The great master and father of modernism proved the efficiency of simplicity, functionality, spaciousness, fluidity, beauty and free movement in a living space. Today, Corbusier’s approach serves as fundamental guideline for building and designing post-modernism housing.
During the early 1920s, a bunch of brave architects and designers decided to challenge conventional approaches in Europe architecture. Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret) was among the most active members of the progressive group also including such prominent names in modernist architecture as Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius, Charlotte Perriand, and Mies van der Rohe among others. In 1925, Le Corbusier promoted L’Epirit Nouveau modern design style in France within the framework of the Paris Exhibition ‘The Pavilion de L’Esprit Nouveau.’ In 1929, Le Corbusier created sculptured furniture with glass, tubular steel, and hide-and-canvas upholstery and glass at the Salon d’Automne along with his colleagues Pierre Jeanneret and Charotte Perriand. The conventional viewers perceived the designs as rather radical, and therefore these initial exhibits did not win success with public (Le Corbusier, 1967).
A purist aesthetic concept forwarded by Le Corbusier still influences post-modernism trends. By arguing that “the house is a machine for living” Corbusier challenged the ‘established conventions particular to the ‘old-world home.’ His revolutionary perceptions in design and architecture completely changed one’s vision of the modern house embracing prefabrication, technological advancements, mass production, innovative materials and extraordinary designs. Corbusier pursued efficiency in construction and ways of living, and invented an innovative interior design that has not lost its relevance until now. His purist manifesto much influenced the houses we make and live in today.
Over 1910-1920s, most households duplicated the old-world home tradition. With the coming of modernism, the world sensed the advantages of the ‘new-world home’ revolutionary tradition that spawned as a wind of change in architecture and design. Modernism established into a trend aftermath the World War I when the governments of the European states were challenged with a serious task of reconstructing social infrastructure. While pursuing social reforms through design, the then architects and designers held mostly utopian visions. They intended to re-shape the urban environment in social, aesthetic, and moral ways by designing high-quality goods and vast spaces that would inspire lifestyles that are more comfortable. They predominantly stuck to the core message of function before form (Sutcliffe, 1977).
A new wave of utopian aesthetics in architecture and design primarily relied on abstraction, clarity and simplicity. Le Corbusier was a Swiss-French architect and designer, urban planner and painter who pioneered modernism. He devoted his life to making advanced living particularly for the residents of crowded cities. Le Corbusier’s early career focused on a purist theory emphasizing on clean geometries, innovative materials and technological advancements of the time. He realized his strive in single-family house models that made the concept of modern architecture well established. His revolutionary design manifesto ‘Towards a New Architecture’ encouraged architects to make their designs appropriate for a new way of life by embracing ‘engineer aesthetic’. Through this, Le Corbusier strived to promote simplicity and new technologies, functional construction and effective structures. Le Corbusier’s ultimate emphasis on functionality explains his approach to beauty. He virtually associated both terms and inspired others to think so with his brave approaches. One of the big steps forward was his influential 1925 ‘Pavillon L’Esprit Nouveau,’ an entirely outfitted model home that fully translated Corbusier’s revolutionary manifesto. This was a quintessence of his perception of architecture, furnishings, design, decorative arts and artwork. His aesthetic of refinement relied on visual clarification and purification making all housing compounds elegant, comfortable, and functional. Le Corbusier breathed a ‘new spirit’ in an interior that has survived various duplications and innovative transformations over time (Choay, 1960).
‘Pavillon L’Esprit Nouveau’ marked a turning point in Le Corbusier’s approach to designs of modern interiors and much influenced the development of post-modern architecture. His interior style that is still relevant features large windows incorporating the outside world into the house interior. This way, we barely differentiate between the indoors and outdoors. Further, Le Corbusier’s space is full of airiness, spaciousness, and fluidity. Further essential feature concerns natural light and ventilation. Large windows are abundant with light while factory window frames do not require extra manufacturing costs. Furthermore, large windows enable additional ventilation. In his innovative (modern) approach, Le Corbusier emphasized on large and open spaces that sound rational from architectural perspective. This enhances a living space with additional flexibility, while rectangular lines and planes make the space clear. From the perspective of functionality, larger spaces assume freer movement and serve various purposes. A large space is easier to clean up and provides more light compared to smaller spaces. A large space is also better for maintaining hygiene and saving energy (Blake, 1960).
Le Corbusier also favored universal style with interiors embracing spaces and objects to their geometric forms, as well as incorporating cubic and architectonic forms that disable clutter. In addition, Le Corbusier promoted practical rather than decorative furniture. He emphasized on light as well as flexible and easily portable objects enabling flexible movements, storage, stacking and nesting within one’s living space. Thin forms and simple lines add to the feeling of spaciousness, airiness, as well as fluidity in a room. With regard to hygiene considerations, Le Corbusier held that furniture and cabinetry should be above the floor to make underneath cleaning easier and maintain hygiene standards properly thereof. While designing a living for dweller’s soul, Le Corbusier called for the affluence of drawers and cabinets. He recommended storing things in modular cabinets which manufacturing is both efficient and economical. He also promoted beauty in materials maintaining architectural unity and right proportions. In other words, the beauty of materials makes a space look beautiful as nothing else. Finally, the great master opted for minimalist decoration on the walls, occasional sculptures and some other decorative pieces (Butti & Perlin, 1980).
Overall, Corbusier revolutionized architecture and design, which inspired an army of followers that much experimented with his initial conceptual approaches. The magic of his brave concept never loses popularity while more and more people around the world tend to re-settle from hectic cities to their own houses on the suburbs. The trend is appealing to middle class and young families who would like to sense a comfort of their own living space and become its designers. Over the decades, the architectural and design technologies have progressed a great length enabling post-modern dwellers choose from a vast variety of materials and designs. Modern 3-D visualizations and innovative approaches are accessible to not only professional architects and designers but also many people dreaming of their own house are mastering modern innovations at a rapid pace. Many of what we have now in architecture and design would not be possible without Le Corbusier’s radicalism and innovations he promoted to alter the old-world housing. Even though the conventional (mainstream) society regarded his elaborations as deeply utopian, they managed to survive for almost a century and develop into the bravest designs and approaches to comfortable and functional housing.
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