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La Tourette


A chair commissioned by the Le Corbusier-designed La Tourette monastery. It was designed for the refectory. One hundred were made.


I got a call one day from Benoi-Philippe Peckle, one of the brothers at La Tourette, a monastery near Lyon designed by Le Corbusier. He asked if I’d be interested in designing a chair for the refectory, as the old ones (school chairs used to replace the original wooden ones which had fallen apart) were too noisy and worn out. I agreed to visit the monastery, stay overnight and have a think about it. Etienne Régent, the architect responsible for projects at La Tourette, showed us round and explained the building. The cell I slept in was a revelation of its own, no more than 2 metres wide by about 6 metres long, it was a miniature apartment. Bathroom divided from bedroom by a wardrobe with a recess on the bed side for an alarm clock and a glass of water, table and chair beside window, and sliding door onto a small terrace, complete with shrine. More comfortable than just about any hotel room I’ve ever stayed in. The monastery is a beautiful place and the chair I designed for them seemed to arrive quite naturally, as a development of one of the benches in the chapel which also had a floor rail. The initial idea took a lot of development and thanks to the patience of Antoine Lion at the monastery and VIA in Paris, it was finally resolved with a great deal of help from Hubert Weinzierl, who produced them for the monastery at his workshop to the east of Paris.
Extracted from Everything But the Walls by Jasper Morrison (Lars Müller Publishers, 2006).