Villa Le Lac Paulownia for Cassina

Villa “Le Lac”, located on the shores of lake Geneva in Switzerland, is the first example of modern architecture designed by Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret. This concrete house was completed in 1924 and became the home for Le Corbusier’s parents. When the ECAL/University of art and design Lausanne informed Cassina that the historical Paulownia tree planted in 1924 on the garden terrace of Villa “Le Lac” was to be removed due to an incurable illness, the brand immediately got involved and in 2013 assisted with the tree’s felling and subsequent transfer to its carpentry workshop in Meda.

Despite numerous efforts made to plant a descendent from the same Paulownia tree, the fifty cuttings taken from the branches did not survive due to the wet spring of 2013, and the seeds taken from its fruit and planted on several latitudes in Corseaux (Switzerland), Paris, Boulogne-sur-Mer (north of France), Roquebrune Cap Martin (south of France) and Bruxelles (Belgium) did not grow. In November 2013 a new Paulownia tree was planted to continue the legacy of Le Corbusier and his architecture. However in spring 2014, nature took its course and a little branch was discovered to be growing out of the terrace’s wall on the lakeside of the villa, most probably thanks to a seed, Le Corbusier’s spirit, which had been blown by the wind. This Paulownia offspring has now been replanted at the Bourse aux Arbres in the suburbs of Lausanne where it is now more than 50cm high.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the LC Collection (Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Charlotte Perriand) and commemorate the 50 years since Le Corbusier passed away, Cassina, with the support of the Fondation Le Corbusier, asked the artist and designer Jaime Hayon to honour this great architect by creating a set of accessories in the wood from this same unique Paulownia tree. Today Le Corbusier’s memory continues to live in three decorative objects which will be produced using all healthy parts of the tree, right to the very last piece of wood. These ‘Villa Le Lac Paulownia’ objects have a strong poetic reference to what no longer exists now that the tree has been cut down aswell as a specific functional use: The Bird, The Bird House and The Ledge.

”I was honored to be given the task to create new objects from the Villa “Le Lac” tree to, in turn, honour the great Le Corbusier. I thought about who would most miss the beautiful Paulownia standing on the banks of Lake Geneva. I thought about birds singing amidst the sound of leaves in the wind, a little home for those birds, and kids laughing joyously while swinging from the branches. I let this spirit guide me in creating the three objects which speak the poetic nature of the tree, evoking new life.” Jaime Hayon.

Enter password