Charlotte Perriand La Maison au Bord de l’Eau
Charlotte Perriand has been called the world’s first successful female architect who rather boldly waltzed herself into the studio of Le Corbusier at the ripe old age of 24. Perriand’s will and talents have made her a key figure of 20th-century Modernism. At the end of 2013 La Maison au Bord de l’Eau (House by the water) was realised for the very first time (80 years after it was first designed in 1934) at Miami Art Week. And it was all thanks to a collaborative vision between the woman who designed it, her daughter and Louis Vuitton.
The vision for the prototype 100sqm house is clear and as relevant as ever. It reflects the 1930’s utopian vision for cost effective, mass-produced pre-fabricated housing celebrating the successes of the Industrial Revolution synonymous with cohesive new visions for society. It is about creating a relationship with the body, with the interior environment and with the outdoors. It is a functional and holistic vision of architecture, interior design and furnishing, and a celebration of small space and pure necessity without restraint or restriction.
The house’s aluminium walls, sliding doors, white sail-clothed courtyard roof and an unimaginable number of human scale details such as shelves under tables to keep napkins; folding storable sun-loungers; double glazing; and rigorously planned kitchen, the house is celebration of Modernist principles brought joyfully to life. The specificity of detail of the built-in elements pre-empts the ergonometrically-derived kitchen Perriand designed with Le Corbusier later in 1952 for the Unité d’Habitation housing project in Marseille.
The house is furnished, as Charlotte Perriand wished, with pieces she designed between 1929 and 1942 of which no original examples remain, only drawings and photos from the archive. Every piece of furniture in the house is individually numbered and signed.
La Maison au Bord de l’Eau is a Modernist legacy and a truly iconic synergy of architecture and design fit for contemporary living.