Sell your city’s utilities !
Chandigarh still serves as the capital of Punjab, India. The city was designed as a modernist ‘oeuvre-total’ by Le Corbusier in the 50’s. He conceived everything from the city plan, to the government buildings, the urban equipment, official furniture, logos and identity. Start from scratch, make it functional, and liveable.
In 2010, the city is worth a lot, as a design good, within the plains of Punjab, India, where people still struggle to define their economy.
Le Corbusier’s identity, beyond its true functionality, is being sold for cool-hunters all over the world, from its manholes (21 000$), city lamps (30 000$), and magistrate chairs (up to 30 000 $). Punjab’s people rip their public goods off, and make it worth more then modernist icons.
Chandigarh manhole cover.
Auctioned at $ 21,600. June 5, 2007.
Rockefeller Plaza, New York.
Jeanneret chairs at a jail in Chandigarh, after inmates had restored them. Many of the city’s chairs had been thrown out. Taken from the NYTimes.
- In an article from The Independant: « When Jawaharlal Nehru commissioned the French architect Le Corbusier to build the city Chandigarh he proclaimed it as the embodiment of a newly independent India ‘unfettered by the traditions of the past, a symbol of the nation’s faith in the future’. »
« Amid India’s high-speed transformation into a world power, the purpose-built furniture that once filled the city’s chic public spaces is being systematically sold off in the auction rooms of London, New York and Paris. »
- And in The New York Times: « The process by which the avant-garde furniture left the city’s offices and made its way to New York and Paris reflects a broader ambivalence among the public toward Le Corbusier’s heritage in Chandigarh and widespread official neglect of his work. »
- You can also read here: « City’s dump fetches millions at christies: What, however, is a sad news for the city is that all these were sold at a pittance. Many items had been discarded as waste. According to rough estimates, alt 80 per cent of the furniture and other relics of the time have been sold. Some of the original drawings made by Le Corbusier are also missing from the city. »