In our post about Diogene by Renzo Piano Building Workshop and Vitra we noted that a Jean Prouvé house could currently be marvelled at Design Miami Basel 2013.
And we obviously don’t want to deny all who weren’t there the chance to do just that.
Presented by Galerie Patrick Seguin the “Maison des Jours Meilleurs” was conceived in 1956 as a response to the campaigning French priest Abbé Pierre’s call for low cost emergency housing for the Paris homeless.
While the rich Italians and super rich Russians circling it in Basel are clearly in direct contrast to the context of the object’s origins, if you ignore them – and believe us that is really, really easy – you can’t fail to be impressed by the majesty of the work.
On a concrete base stands a shell of wood panels topped by an aluminium roof. The heart of the design however is to be found in the middle of the construction: a kitchen/bathroom/toilet pod which also acts as the central support for the pre-fabricated steel skeleton.
Aside from the construction principle and the wonderful design of the windows, for us the highlight of the object is that because the concrete base is wider than the walls, it forms a seat-cum-shelf that rolls the whole way round the interior of the construction making any furniture other than a bed useful, but not absolutely essential.
All in all a wonderful object, a beautiful representation of Prouvé’s research into social housing, and – as with most of the classic design on show in Basel – completely outwith the price range of mere mortals.
Viewing is however free, or at least costs just the entry price, and as ever the “Classic Design” galleries presented a show worthy of any design museum.
Aside from Maison des Jours Meilleurs and furniture by Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand, Pierre Jeanneret and Le Corbusier at Galerie Patrick Seguin, the other classic highlights at Design Miami Basel 2013 for use were the presentation of Alvar Aalto’s fixtures and fittings for his Paimio Sanitorium at Jacksons, the objects by Finn Juhl at Dansk Møbelkunst Gallery
and a huge, violent, beast of a desk by Italian architects whose names we can sadly no longer locate at Galerie Ulrich Fiedler Berlin.
Among the contemporary works there was, if we’re honest, not that much that caught our attention apart from some wonderful objects by India Mahdavi for Carwan Gallery Beirut and the results of the Verbier Mountain Climbers project which asks Swiss designers to create something new from decommissioned Verbier ski gondolas. The new-old gondolas then being auctioned for charity.
The above and of course that fact that Carpenters Workshop Gallery are still looking for a buyer for Fragile Future Chandelier 3.1 by Lonneke Gordijn & Ralph Nauta. We’re still saving……
As ever we still don’t really get Design Miami Basel, but then you don’t have to. It can be simply enjoyed as the most invigorating journey through the realm of 20th century furniture design. And of course a veritable 3D library for our Lost Furniture Design Classics series…..
A few impressions from Design Miami Basel 2013