ÉCAL students take over Apartment N°50 at Cité Radieuse

ÉCAL students take over Appartement N°50 at Le Corbusier's Cité Radieuse

Students from Swiss university ÉCAL are the latest designers to refit an apartment in Le Corbusier's Cité Radieuse housing block in Marseille.

Apartment N°50, Cité Radieuse by ECAL

Appartement N°50 is located in the building designed by the Swiss-French Modernist architect as the first in his Unité d'Habitation series of housing estates and completed in 1952.

Apartment N°50, Cité Radieuse by ECAL

The annual installation programme at Appartement N°50 was started by Jean-Marc Drut and Patrick Blauwart, who bought and restored the space to live in.

Apartment N°50, Cité Radieuse by ECAL

Since 2008, the pair have invited a designer or studio to overhaul the interior of the apartment and allowed members of the public to tour the space during the summer.

Apartment N°50, Cité Radieuse by ECAL

"It has been, from the start, all about the transmission of historical heritage and sharing the experience of living in such a unusual place," Drut told Dezeen.

Apartment N°50, Cité Radieuse by ECAL
Utopie by Hansel Schloupt

Each designer selects who will be next, and so far the roster has included Jasper Morrison, Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, Konstantin Grcic and Pierre Charpin.

Apartment N°50, Cité Radieuse by ECAL

Charpin, who added colourful furniture and artwork to the space last year, chose the students on the product design course at the École Cantonale d'Art de Lausanne (ÉCAL) as his successors.

Apartment N°50, Cité Radieuse by ECAL

"Our usual presentations are from one or two designers; this is the first time we're hosting a group show," Drut said. "It gives the younger generation a chance to confront Le Corbusier's architecture."

Apartment N°50, Cité Radieuse by ECAL
Pivot by Patrick Tarkhounian

The collaboration began in September 2014, when the group of product design students visited the apartment for a three-day workshop.

Apartment N°50, Cité Radieuse by ECAL
Phare by Stanislaw Czarnocki

Features they picked up on were the apartment's climate, the flexibility of the living space, the regular tours that take place and the use of the communal rooftop.

Apartment N°50, Cité Radieuse by ECAL

"A team of students from various nationalities came and spent a few days with us, studying how we lived in the apartment," said Drut. "They took note of how we were using the facilities of the building – especially the roof terrace – and what they could do to 'improve' our daily life in this space."

Apartment N°50, Cité Radieuse by ECAL
Exterieur by Hyungmoon Choi

The students returned a few months later with ideas for products and accessories to furnish the apartment and roof terrace.

Apartment N°50, Cité Radieuse by ECAL
Coffrage by Roosa Ryhaenen

Inside the apartment, additions include a fan to improve air flow on the mezzanine and cushions designed to fit both on the living room's indoor parapets and on the loggia tables.

Apartment N°50, Cité Radieuse by ECAL
Mistral by Katarzyna Kempa and Thomas Elliott Burns

A large rotating lamp can be positioned to light either the dining room or the living room, while a smaller version can be used on a desk or a bedside table.

Apartment N°50, Cité Radieuse by ECAL
Atlas by Julie Bernard

A rug patterned with the layout of Marseille shows how Le Corbusier's building fits into the urban context, and a measuring device called the Unit Metre provides visitors with a tool to explain the architect's Modulor proportion system.

Apartment N°50, Cité Radieuse by ECAL
Terrasse by Thomas Schmitz

Folding tables and chairs allow the residents to migrate from the living room to the roof, taking with them a picnic box that contains all the items needed for an al-fresco aperitif.

Apartment N°50, Cité Radieuse by ECAL
Unité by Thomas Schmitz

"[The students] were very interested in interacting with this iconic building, on the occasion of the various celebrations taking place to commemorate 50 years after Le Corbusier's death," said Drut.

Apartment N°50, Cité Radieuse by ECAL
Promenade by Lola Buades Balle

The ÉCAL installation at Appartement N°50 runs from 4 to 19 July 2015 to coincide with a Design Parade event organised by Villa Noailles in nearby Hyères.

Apartment N°50, Cité Radieuse by ECAL
Polychromie by Leila Chouikh

A 52-page publication about the project created by the school's Art Direction masters students is also available from the flat.

Photography is by Michel Bonvin.