A Machine for Thinking In
Marc Spiegler -- Interior Design, 8/1/2005 12:00:00 AM
Le Corbusier aficionados may have experienced a jolt of recognition when touring this year's Art Basel. Among the unconventional displays in the Swiss fair's Art Unlimited section stood Berlin artist Olaf Nicolai's Baraque de Chantier, a full-scale replica of the architect's studio in the south of France. Oddly enough, he did not design the original cabin. Instead, as Nicolai's title implies, Corbu chose a prefabricated construction-site hut, which he "furnished" with two upturned whiskey crates, also replicated in the artwork.
"I found it interesting that Corbu proposed all these ideas about people living and working out in the open—and then, for himself, chose this hut, which is like a hunter's blind," says Nicolai. "So I recast the building using his ideas of transparency." He turned to sheets of acrylic glass, because normal glass would have made the structure too heavy for transport.
Baraque de Chantier is now headed to the garden of a Los Angeles collector. "I love that it's going to L.A., where they have all those Case Study houses," Nicolai says. When the buyer asked him how to use the new purchase, he replied, "It's yours—do anything you want. But avoid fires, because the hut will melt, not burn."