Alessandro Mendini styles flat in Le Corbusier's Cité Radieuse

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Alessandro Mendini creates new interior for Apartment N°50 in Le Corbusier's Cité Radieuse

Alessandro Mendini has become the latest designer to restyle an apartment in Le Corbusier's Cité Radieuse housing block in Marseille, adding colourful totems and Postmodern furnishings (+ slideshow).

alessandro mendini apartment 50 marseille france

The Italian architect and designer was invited to furnish the interior of Apartment N°50 – a flat inside the first housing block of Le Corbusier's iconic Unité d'Habitacion series, one of the most influential Brutalist buildings of all time.

alessandro mendini apartment 50 marseille france

The space has previously been fitted out by designers including Konstantin GrcicPierre Charpin and Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec.

Like his predecessors, Mendini paired the existing decor with some of his own products, including the iconic 1978 Proust armchair, the Amuleto lamp he launched in 2o15 and one of the rugs he created recently for Joseph Carini Carpets.

alessandro mendini apartment 50 marseille france

The designer also installed a few products designed especially for the space, along with some favourite ornaments from his own collection. He described the result as a "delicate performance".

alessandro mendini apartment 50 marseille france

"I was stimulated by the spaces and the brilliant play of light, in addition to the master's use of colour – warm, pictorial and essential to our sensorial enjoyment of the apartment," he said.

alessandro mendini apartment 50 marseille france

One of the most noticeable additions is a series of eight totems, positioned atop the low partition that separates the double-height living space from a mezzanine level above.

alessandro mendini apartment 50 marseille france

Each totem is painted a different colour to match the tones originally chosen for the interior by Le Corbusier and his collaborator, architect and designer Charlotte Perriand.

alessandro mendini apartment 50 marseille france

"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," said Mendini.

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Both the partition and the side walls of the space are covered in white panels. Mendini chose to highlight these by stretching blue ribbons diagonally across them, matching the colours of the existing wall recesses.

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He also positioned a series of objects inside these window-shaped openings, including a colourfully painted coffee pot, a pair of model horses and a set of candlesticks. The aim was to create a cabinet of curiosities, also known as a wunderkammern.

alessandro mendini apartment 50 marseille france

"In the magic of the two blue niches side by side, almost like Wunderkammern, I have placed some small polychrome objects to which I am particularly attached," said Mendini.

alessandro mendini apartment 50 marseille france

"I call this display of mine a performance, because throughout its duration it will be a presence acting with visitors to the apartment, favouring and accentuating their reading of it," he added.

alessandro mendini apartment 50 marseille france

Apartment N°50 is owned by Jean-Marc Drut and Patrick Blauwart, who live in the space. Every summer since 2008 they have invited a designer or studio to overhaul the interior, and invited members of the public to come and look inside.

Mendini's installation – called Corbu, 8 Colours – is open from 17 July to 13 August.

Photography is by Philippe Savoir and Fondation Le CorbusierADAGP.