MoMA Acquired a Le Corbusier Kitchen in a Garage; Its Restorers Aim to Keep it Real

As the world awaits “Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes,” the architect’s largest exhibition in New York scheduled to open at the Museum of Modern Art on June 9, two museum conservators have been hard at work restoring the Le Corb and Charlotte Perriand-designed kitchen they acquired in a Munich garage for the exhibition.

Le Corbusier’s Marseille Unité d’Habitation, via Inside/Out

The 60-year-old kitchen set, comprising countertops, cupboards, and a sink, was part of Le Corbusier’s 1952 vertical 1,600-resident community experiment, the Unité d’Habitation in Marseille. It sat fully assembled in the garage of a German collector until, after an assessment by Roger Griffith and Anne Grady, associate and assistant conservators, respectively, deemed it in acceptable condition for MoMA’s collection.

For all its years of scratches, dents, and six layers of paint, however, the pair handled the restoration of this project like that of an anthropological relic, blogging that the kitchen could be “interpreted both as an artefact and as a design object.” They returned the cabinets to the colors Le Corbusier himself had chosen in 1947, while leaving traces of its authentic wear and tear. [Inside/Out via Phaidon]

— Janelle Zara