Le Corbusier, Pavillon Esprit Nouveau, Paris, France, 1924

Le Corbusier, Pavillon Esprit Nouveau, Paris, France, 1924

In 1925, during the Exhibition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts in Paris, Le Corbusier presents his Pavillon Esprit Nouveau (meaning the pavilion “new spirit”).

This pavilion doesn’t show the codes of architecture of its time : the goal of Le Corbusier was to deny the decorative arts, to show that industry (by standardization and series), reinforced concrete or steel can bring new liberties and purity to architecture, and that an apartment can be standardized to satisfy the needs of a “serial” man.

Consequently, the pavilion is a “cell” of buildings-villas, from an industrial realization and composed with entirely standardized elements. There are free facades, glass panels, roof terrace and horizontal windows, which are so typical of Le Corbusier. Besides, each housing opens on an outside garden, there are also roof gardens and a tree drilling the roof of the pavilion: Le Corbusier wants to give the impression of a miniaturized and domesticated nature, subject to the construction. The global dimensions are 400×200 meters and the bulkheads and walls are in dolomite on which the cement has been projected.

The merits of this pavilion is its equipment : furniture is replaced by metal factory lockers, they are choses to perform a specific daily function (wardrobe, home textiles, glassware, crockeries, bookcase etc.). They constitutes the house furniture with seats and tables, leaving a maximal living space. The seats and tables are no longer in wood but in tube or sheet steel, the important point is not their aesthetic but their functionality :  there are several ways to seat, so the new forms of seats must fits with all of these ways.


References :

  • Le Corbusier,  Oeuvre complète, volume 1, 1910-1929.
  • F. Nourbakhsh, “Le Corbusier : Pavillon Esprit Nouveau, 1925, maquette avec intérieur”, 1987.

Armand Perrot
Sara De Boeck
Louise Daugas