Did something different??

After record numbers over the Do Something Different weekend, we want to see your pictures and hear your stories! If you did something different, post your photos to the Le Corbusier flickr page, or leave a comment to let us know what you got up to.



Some wonderfully grainy mobile-phone pics of my friends playing Xenakis-inspired Snakes & Ladders!


Make Your Own Corbusier Pillow!

Stuffed Barbican Chair

The gradual invasion of all things Le Corbusier across the Barbican Centre continues, as these gorgeous photos show! Here's a sneak peak of what you can make at the upcoming Do Something Different weekend on 7 and 8 March.

On the Sunday you will have a unique opportunity to stuff your own Barbican (pillow that is!) with Janome sewing machines at the ready! The cushion is designed by People Will Always Need Plates and Clothkits and was commissioned by Barbican Education specially for this event.

Stuffed Barbican Cutout

The drop-in workshop will run from 11am to 4pm. All you need is a voucher from Box Office at the teeny tiny cost of £10 which will cover all materials that you need along with expert help to guide you through the process. The voucher can be redeemed at any point that you are ready during the day.

Trained staff will be on hand to help you but children must be accompanied by an adult at all times...

Other weird and wonderful things happening over the weekend include:

Drop by and let us know what you get up to!


Get the Look

If you are keen to get that 'Le Corbsuier look' then the Art Gallery Shop is place for you.

Each day I enviously look at the Le Corbusier furniture made by Cassina, particularly the very special Limited Edition LC3 armchair, a dreamy combination of natural leather and a pale blue frame. Trying on the Le Corbusier inspired specs by Cutler and Gross is, though perhaps, for me a more realistic and immeidate way of connecting to the great man...

Another favorite of mine are the Le Corbusier Polychromie paints. And I've just learnt that we are the only suppliers in the UK. I'm making the most the opportunity while it lasts!

Also, don't forget to visit the online shop to buy a selected number of items available in store.


In search of Barbican Livings

On the occasion of the exhibition Le Corbusier –The Art of Architecture, Barbican Art Gallery is organising two ‘Barbican Living’ days to offer the public a chance to learn more about the Barbican Estate and the ideas put forward by Le Corbusier. Indeed many links can be made between the Barbican (and Golden Lane Estate) built by architects Chamberlin, Powell and Bon. Links will also be made with the work of Le Corbusier such as Unité d’habitation in Marseille. The Unité kitchen featured in the exhibition is a fantastic connection – it and those of the Barbican have obvious similarities.

The Barbican Art Gallery team has hunted down Barbican residents, largely architects and designers, who have agreed to open their flats to visitors. To do this, we placed an advert in various publications regularly read by the Barbican residents.
'Calling all Architects Designers living in the Barbican!!
Are you an architect or designer living in the Barbican Estate? Have you recently commissioned an architect to refurbish your flat? Does your apartment still have original design features?
If so, we would like you to get in touch with us.'
Once a wide list of residents was established (thanks to the ad, but also thanks to word of mouth), we went to visit flats all around the estate in order to prepare a rich and varied program for the ‘Barbican Living’ days. So far we have visited 15 flats in order to put together a varied and exciting tour program.

Some of the tours are already sold out so hurry up if you also want to be part of one of our ‘Barbican Living’ days!

Photo David King


So it's busy

Le Corbusier opened on Wednesday evening and it's been non-stop ever since!
For the first in the series of Thursday Lates, Jamie Fobert chose to speak about what he felt are the two sides of Le Corbusier – the radical urbanist and the sculptor of natural forms – the Plan Voisin of 1925 and the Chapel of Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp. More than 70 of you came.

Exhibition curator Arthur Ruegg spoke about Le Corbusier's autobiographical interiors - a wonderful exploration of his own interiors and those that he promoted in his architecture. It was striking to see how many of Arthur's former students now based in London attended.

Also taking place was Tony Hayward and Peter Marigold's 'Empty your Pockets!' A chance for exhibition visitors to curate their own collections. And how you took to it! Check out our Flickr site to see.


Embassy Row.

The Swiss Federation have generously lent one of Le Corbusier's tapestries, Presence II. As the tapestry has been installed in the Swiss Ambassador's residence here in London, it was a real treat for me to oversee the packing and transport of the work to the Barbican.

As soon as I arrived in Montagu Place I was surrounded by embassies left and right. Even now as I type this Pavement's 'Embassy Row' is poppin' back into my head! The Swiss Embassy welcomed me with open arms and I was led to the residence where the tapestry hangs in the living room/salon.

The Ambassador has not one but three(!) LC2 sofas in the softest, most buttery mustard yellow. If I lived here I would spend my evenings loungin' on these sofas and lustin' over all the amazing arts and graphics books in the collection.

The tapestry really dominates the room and there is no doubt it will be missed. We are so happy to have it at the Barbican for the next three months. I am tempted to show you a photo of the tapestry once it is installed I'm gonna restrain so you can come and see it for yourself!

With the tapestry taking a leave of absence, perhaps now the Ambassador's staircase will receive some much-deserved ooohs and ahhs.


It's only just begun.

We're so excited to welcome this weekend the crates from Liverpool and the first of our Barbican-exclusive loans, Fernand Léger's The Baluster all the way from MoMA in New York. Originally exhibited in the Pavillon de l’Esprit Nouveau, which Le Corbusier designed for the 1925 International Exposition of Decorative Arts in Paris, this is a very rare opportunity for this important work to be seen in London.

You can see a digital recreation of the Pavillon here, but you'll have to visit the exhibition to see the room recreated and its contents reunited in the flesh.


The clock is ticking.

A moment of calm....before the storm of crates arrive.


Gone but not forgotten.

One last look at This Is War!



(the gallery workshop)

The time between exhibitions is truly a magical time. You're sad to see the shows coming down but at the same time you can't wait to see the gallery transform itself once more. You get out from in front of your computer (at last!) and roll up your sleeves, walk through the spaces waving hello's and catching up on old times with the installation crew. You can be as loud as you want (in a gallery!) or just sit a spell soaking in the crazy twilight zone that is turnaround. You see the space as a blank canvas and at the same time you remember bits of every show you've ever seen there. You brace yourself for what's ahead!

That said we're all sad to see Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and This is War! come down but we're also gearing up for the installations of Peter Coffin in the Curve and Le Corbusier in the main gallery.

(Mr Wizard-style light bulbs leftover from the Lozano-Hemmer projectors)

It's my most favourite time to be in the gallery. I'm always stressed to the core but it's the very best kind of stress, wanting to savour every moment knowing it only happens every three months. The magic continues as the gallery is cleared to make way for the majority of works coming in this weekend. We can't wait, but we can....


Decisions decisions.

With the opening of the show now less than one month away, you can feel (and hear!) the buzzzzzz around Team Corb as we keep on keepin' on towards the finish line.

There are still so many loose ends to tie up before the majority of the works arrive from The Crypt (which closed this past Sunday). Images, graphics, captions, floor plans, gallery guides, insurance, per diems, v.i.p.'s, events....you name it we're on it. With tired eyes but smiling hearts. Le Corbusier — The Art of Architecture is comin' at us like *Jaws*........ready or not.

And for all of you out there just jonesin' for 19 February, you can visit our microsite which officially went live today. We hope you'll love it as much as we do. Mad props to Chris and Rachel, we couldn't have done it without you.


Royal visit.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) are one of the collaborators for Le Corbusier - The Art of Architecture. I've heard so much about RIBA and talked to a few people there, so I jumped at the opportunity to visit their headquarters, described as an 'Art Deco landmark', in Portland Place by Regent Park.

Corinna and I ascended the dreamy staircase to meet with Robert Elwood in the RIBA library to select photographs for inclusion in the 'British Modernism' section of the exhibition. It was a dream-come-true to sift through hundreds of photographs of the Barbican over the years. It's such a magical place. You'll have to come and see the exhibition to see which photographs we selected.

The etched glass, wood carvings, rich history and original quirks all make my heart skip-a-beat. I will definitely be back for more! The bookshop is also not to be missed. Corinna picked up THE Paffard Keatinge-Clay monograph, you can see her below triumphantly holding the bag (!). You will definitely be hearing more about Paffard from us, as we are big fans in every way.

(Meet your bloggers: Corinna, left, and Jess)


Architecture and Happiness according to Le Corbusier

‘Nevertheless there is ARCHITECTURE. An admirable thing, the most beautiful. The product of happy peoples and what happy peoples produce.
Happy cities have architecture.
Architecture is in the telephone and in the Parthenon. How comfortable it might be in our homes. Our houses make streets and streets make cities and cities, they're individuals who take on a soul, who feel, suffer, and admire. How well architecture might be in the streets and in the whole city!

Le Corbusier, Towards an Architecture (1923)


Getting Closer

Six weeks to the opening and there is still much to do. Recollections of our visit to Ronchamp seem very distant now. It's all about the design of the show, the layout of the works, the graphics and how the visitor is to experience the all the amazing drawings, models, photographs, paintings that are to be shown in Le Corbusier – The Art of Architecture.
It is a real challenge to exhibit Le Corbusier's works and ideas in a gallery space that is architecturally demanding - and there is a lot of concrete already. We will have to wait and see!