Lost legacy of Chandigarh's architect Le Corbusier

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Chandigarh, April 14: For the intelligentsia in Punjab and Haryana, acclaimed architect Le Corbusier's name will always be held in the highest respect for gifting them the well-planned Chandigarh city.

Not many are aware that there exists a museum dedicated to him in Chandigarh.

The museum that throws retrospective light on Chandigarh has preserved the architectural work, models, sketches and furniture as a tribute to Corbusier.

The museum has preserved the correspondence that includes controversial letters exchanged between Corbusier and the senior Government functionaries of that time and many other relevant documents concerning Le Corbusier's execution of the city project.

Besides, it states how every part of Chandigarh had a tinge of Le Corbusier's touch with government offices using furniture designed by Pierre Jeanneret, the cousin of Le Corbusier and also a member of his team.

"In the museum we have all the correspondence which was written during the creation of Chandigarh. It has been preserved and is on display so that people can come and see how the planning was done. We've also got models of various buildings. We have managed to preserve and showcase them," said Navjot Pal Singh Randhawa, the Director of Museum and Art Gallery in Chandigarh. "Other than this there are furniture, which we've received and preserved earlier and some we have received from Punjab Charitable Trust. They have lent us some of the furniture which we see in the museum," Randhawa added.

Taking a down tour of this city beautiful, one cannot help but appreciate the work of Le Corbusier's vision and creativity.

Pierre Jeanneret's designed furniture is today found in most of the government offices even today, after many decades. More than being just another piece of woodwork these are antique pieces worth a fortune.

However, it is a sad to learn that some of the furniture items are being auctioned abroad.

"We wouldn't know what can be done at this stage. But certainly in the times, we'll be cautious that they are preserved and maintained and become part of the heritage museum," said Sanjiv Tiwari, the Director of Public Relations of Punjab University.

Some pieces found their way out of India.

Reportedly, with reserve price ranging from 8,000 to 12,000 dollars, these historical pieces of furniture items are under the hammer New York's auction house Christies. This has prompted Chandigarh Administration to pass an order-banning disposal of this precious furniture.

"I found Chandigarh itself to be such a beautiful city. What I like about the architecture is that, we call it mid-century modern in US and a lot of it appears whimsical but it's quite functional," said Kristen, a tourist.

Now it's the administration's turn to show its true respect by probing at least how certain pieces of furniture designed by Swiss Pierre Jeanneret for the city built by his cousin Le Corbusier, were smuggled out. By Sunil Sharma


ANI

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