furniture designs to shine in Chandigarh once again
By Alkesh Sharma
Chandigarh, Sep 10 (IANS) In dusty corners of government offices
in Chandigarh, officials are now searching for furniture designed
by famed architects Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret in the
1950s and restoring what they can find to be part of the city's
"The Chandigarh administration will constitute a special
team that will visit all government offices, institutions
and corporations to identify and catalogue the heritage furniture.
The administration will also restrict any kind of auction
of heritage furniture," Sanjay Kumar, home secretary
of Chandigarh, told IANS.
Le Corbusier was the Swiss-French architect who designed this
north Indian city - one of the few planned cities in India.
His cousin Pierre Jeanneret is also responsible for many icons
of modern architecture here including the Gandhi Bhawan and
the library building at Panjab University. He was so attached
to the city that on his death, in accordance to his will,
his ashes were scattered in the Sukhna lake on the edge of
Movable articles like furniture, small carpets and other things
used by these architects or created during their time will
be given a face-lift and installed at proper locations, an
Added Kumar: "The Chandigarh administration is committed
to preserving the heritage status of the city. This is also
a step towards safeguarding the rich heritage of Le Corbusier
and Pierre Jeanneret."
Until now, most people in Chandigarh were unaware of the value
of these articles and many pieces of heritage furniture were
sold at throwaway prices or just dumped in store rooms after
being used for a few decades.
Even last year, furniture designed by Corbusier and Jeanneret
were auctioned at very low prices. They were reportedly bought
by French nationals who later sold them for millions abroad.
"People here are not very sensitive towards these unique
designs but foreigners attach great value to the furniture
made by Le Corbusier and Jeanneret," Rajnish Wattas,
principal of the Chandigarh College of Architecture, told
"Designs of both Corbusier and Jeanneret are an inspiration
for budding architects of Chandigarh and it is very sad that
we lost a huge chunk of our priceless collection of furniture
in that auction," added Wattas.
"Sensing its value, our administration constituted a
three-member committee last year to locate furniture designed
by these architects now present in the city. Now this committee
has been expanded and many bureaucrats have been included,"
said Wattas, who is a member of the committee.
He said that Chandigarh needed laws to preserve heritage articles
and people found harming them should be punished.
Apart from their efforts to locate valuable furniture designed
by the famed architects, the Chandigarh administration is
setting up a museum and research centre to showcase the talent
of Corbusier. The museum, the sixth such centre in the world,
is set to be inaugurated Oct 8.
The museum will house archival records, original plans, sketches
and studies, maps, documents, photographs and furniture used
by Le Corbusier while designing Chandigarh, said Vidya Nand
Singh, the nodal officer of this project.
Corbusier has designed and constructed buildings across Europe,
India (in Chandigarh and Ahmedabad), and one each in North
and South America. He was an urban planner, painter, sculptor,
writer and modern furniture designer.
Indo-Asian News Service