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Chandigarh Furniture

Chandigarh Furniture
© Photography: Lukas Wassmann, Zürich

Chandigarh Furniture
© Photography: Simon Schmid / NL, Bern

Chandigarh Furniture
© Photography: Simon Schmid / NL, Bern

Editors:
Maximage - David Keshavjee, Andreas Koller, Zürich; Guy Meldem, Lausanne

Design:
David Keshavjee, Zürich; Guy Meldem, Lausanne

Printing:
MX Print, La Chaux-de-Fonds

Publisher:
Villette Edition, Lausanne

This self-published volume, which is successful both in its conceptual approach and execution, presents on 28 pages one photo each of extremely worn-out pieces of furniture ─ some of them with improvised repairs ─ from Chandigarh. Most of them were designed by Le Corbusier, who conceived the planned Indian city in the 1950s, but for some of the pieces the attribution seems questionable. This illustrates the irony with which the legacy of modernist residential and living utopias is presented here. The furniture pieces appear extremely isolated from their context, even when they are partly obscured by other objects in front of them. As there are no captions or explanations, much room is left for interpretation: Is the publication criticizing the Western market for second-hand designer furniture, for which Chandigarh is a cheap source? Or is the book itself exploiting the paradoxical gesture of placing an aesthetic of poverty in a contemporary design context? Its material quality also has an ambivalent effect: on the one hand, the volume consists of handmade Indian paper; on the other, the furniture is given a fresh splendour through the use of a special printing process with varnish realized in Switzerland. The cover, also printed and laminated in Switzerland, was conceived by a designer in India.

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