Tag Archives: Le Corbusier

the wonderful world of peter d. cole.

Peter D. Cole is known for his wonderfully exuberant and playful works. I discovered him on Instagram, his works colour-bright set against their pure, white background.

His abstract, watercolour paintings and bold, minimal sculptures are firmly rooted in the landscape of his native Australia; a simple vocabulary of singular elements floating on a sea of colour. Forms are broken down to represent the most fundamental elements of sky, earth, sun and moon, picked out in primary reds, vivid yellows, intense blues and other clear, saturated hues.

Displaying the modernist language of his art school training in the mid 1960s, he cites Miro, Calder and González as influences, along with the Constructivists Moholy Nagy and El Lissitzky. Specific works too – Giacometti’s The Palace at 4am and Le Corbusier’s Ronchamp – have informed his sculptural pieces, styled out of powder-coated steel, aluminium, marble and brass.

Peter works from a purpose built studio adjoining his home in country Victoria, having designed both studio and house himself. Influenced by Japanese houses and the natural desire to capture the afternoon breeze, the main house sits on an elevated platform with a simple set of stairs leading to the entrance. The high ceilinged, white walled, light filled rooms offer perfect, gallery-style spaces in which to display his work.

The palette of materials is thus restrained, starting with floors of richly polished timber and walls of glass, creating an almost invisible boundary with the outdoors. Extraneous elements have been removed –  doors are recessed into wall thicknesses or simply framed in wood; junctions abut each other crisply. Elements of singular colour counterbalance the bold hues of Peter’s sculptures. Door handles and drawer pulls were designed and made by the artist, along with many of the light fittings. Furniture is a mix of antique and modern. Marc Newson’s idiosyncratic pieces are stand-outs, from the fabulous Wicker and Embryo chairs to the Super Guppy floor lamp, all of which sit comfortably amongst Peter’s bold, architectural forms.

More about the artist here, and his website, here

Photographs: Sean Fennessy via Peter D. Cole, with thanks.


a cabin for living.

Diogene is a minimalist living unit that functions as a self-contained system independent of its environment. It is named after the ancient philosopher Diogenes, who is said to have lived in a barrel because he considered worldly luxuries to be superfluous.

Designed by Renzo Piano (who paradoxically also designed Western Europe’s tallest building, the Shard), Diogene is fully equipped with everything one needs to live. The front serves as a living room, with a pull-out sofa on one side and a folding table under the window on the other. Behind a partition are a shower, toilet and kitchen. It is constructed from wood which also informs the interior; the exterior is coated with aluminium cladding for weather protection. With a footprint of 2.5 x 3 metres when fully assembled, it can be loaded onto a lorry and transported anywhere. The house’s simple exterior, corresponding to a child’s image of a house, belies the complexity of photovoltaic cells and solar modules, a rainwater tank, biological toilet, natural ventilation and triple glazing, all required to allow it to exist autonomously. Diogene has many possible uses: It can serve as a weekend house, as a studio, or as an office. It can be placed freely in nature, but also right next to a workplace, even in the middle of an open plan office.


Renzo Piano cites Le Corbusier’s Cabanon as one of his architectural references. Le Corbusier, who believed a house was a ‘machine for living’, constructed the cabin for his own use in the 1950s in Cap Martin in the Côte d’Azur. Based on human proportions – the walls are 2.26m high, the height of a six-foot man with one arm above his head –  it is for me the ultimate summerhouse. More on Cabanon, here


Image of Cabanon via Domus

Renzo Piano’s Diogene is installed on the Vitra campus in Germany. What do you think? Could you live in a house this size? Or is this Airstream caravan, with full size bathtub, more your style? (via the wonderful Girl and the Abode)

More good design series, here

an exemplary modernist.

‘For a long time I have dreamed of executing dwellings in such conditions for the good of humanity. The building at Highgate is an achievement of the first rank’. Le Corbusier, 1935.

Berthold Lubetkin, one of several émigré proponents of Modernism in 1930s London, and a disciple of Le Corbusier, designed the apartment building Highpoint, in Highgate, North London. An early example of the International style, and engineered by Ove Arup, I had the opportunity to visit Highpoint last weekend, on an open day for the sale of one of the apartments. Recently refurbished, the attention to the original detail was superb. (That apartment was sold immediately, and sadly, not to me, so the photographs I am showing here are for another in the building).

Original features and fittings – cork floors, door furniture, bathroom fittings – have mostly been replaced. Other fittings are consistent for the era – the Arne Jacobsen wall lights for example. The colours were inspired by Le Corbusier’s ‘polychromie architecturale’ – two palates of colour he produced for the wallpaper company Salubra in 1931 and 1959.


Highpoint is a much lauded, grade 1 listed Modernist building. Rendered white, as was the modernist way, the building is monolithic but elegant. Berthold Lubetkin is among the most important figures of the Modern Movement in Britain. Born in Georgia in 1901, he studied in Berlin and Paris, before moving to London in 1931. The following year he founded the famous Tecton practice with 6 other Architectural Association graduates.

Lubetkin and Tecton’s buildings are among the most iconic of the period, and include the marvellous penguin pool at London Zoo, again, designed in conjunction with the engineer Ove Arup.

Highpoint, Highgate via The Modern House

More wonderful spaces, here

how to look like an architect.


Browsing A Daily Dose of Architecture, (almost) daily architectural musings and imagery from NYC, as I do (almost) every day, I came across a post about these specs (add a bow tie for full effect):


This is what Superfocus say:

Named Bauhaus in appreciation of the iconic movement created by design master Walter Gropius in Weimar in the 1920s. The Bauhaus has been a profound worldwide influence in art, architecture, graphic design, and last but not least, product design. We believe that Dr. Gropius would have approved of the sleek, utilitarian look of these Superfocus glasses.

Suitable for all sizes and shapes of heads and faces, including large heads.


We proudly call this style Corbu. Named after Le Corbusier, one of the great pioneers of modern architecture, whose signature look was his famous, round, dark-rimmed glasses, with the temples centered on the circular rims. Look familiar?

Snugger fit than Bauhaus. Less suitable than Bauhaus for people with particularly wide heads.


So, there you have it. Want to look like an architect? Now you know how!

Feature image via Foundation Le Corbusier, here 

More found objects, here

the abc of architects.

This charming infographic slideshow reels off an architect of note for every letter of the alphabet with a 2-D animation of their most notable project. All done in the style of a 1930s projector video replete with old-fashioned scratches and whimsical instrumental music.

The ‘ABC of Architects’ by Colombian graphic designer and visual artist Federico Gonzalez and Andrea Stinga runs from Alvar Aalto to Zaha Hadid, even managing to fill the letter X – Iannis Xenakis….


A little investigation uncovered this unfamiliar architect, a protege of Le Corbusier, who was entrusted with the project management of the Philips Pavilion, Expo ‘58 in Brussels (Le Corbusier was busy with the planning of Chandigarh). The pavilion is a cluster of nine hyperbolic paraboloids, composed asymmetrically and constructed out of prestressed concrete. Et voila!

The ABC of Architects, via Designboom

More ponderings, here