birthday luncheon for Le Corbusier

Nous savez, c'est la vie qui a raison, l'architecte qui a tort. (Le Corbusier, 1969)

Nous savez, c'est la vie qui a raison,
l'architecte qui a tort.
Le Corbusier, 1969

Le Corbusier was born on October 6, 1887. From the 1920s to the 1960s he designed many famous buildings in France, Switzerland and other places. His early buildings have sharp corners and are mostly white. His later buildings are curvy and are mostly concrete. There’s a little color here and there, as you might expect from an architect who was once an artist who painted in a school associated with Cubism.

He also wrote several famous books that continue to be read, mostly in schools of architecture. He liked to write in short, terse sentences and paragraphs.

Like this.

I do not believe that Corbu, as we were taught to call him affectionately in architecture school, would fuss over a birthday celebration the way I do. He probably would have condemned birthday parties, especially the cake and presents, as bourgeois.

He believed that sofas are bourgeois, too.

But chairs are not bourgeois; chairs are architecture. He said so.

To mark this date I have prepared a simple four-course menu, designed as the ideal birthday luncheon for Le Corbusier. Let us assemble correctly and magnificently in the light; pull up a chair, s’il vous plaît, and enjoy—but not too much; I have a funny feeling that pleasure may also be bourgeois.

Le menu pour le déjeuner d’anniversaire de Le Corbusier
Service: on a paved terrace, overlooking a manicured grassy garden; skyscrapers in the distance; biplane circling overhead

amuse-bouche: L’Esprit Nouveau
Cold cucumber-leek soup with French grey salt
Served in shot glasses with thick black rims

entrée: La Savoye
Poached trout with egg white omelette (taken from hens in harmony with the zeitgeist)
Discreet garnish of serpentine cucumber peel (measuring 5 mm x 4 cm precisely), circular radish slices
Served on square plate

le plat principal: La Ronchamp
Lamb stew with autumn roots and cream; potatoes dauphinoise
Served on rustic ceramic plates made by local Burgundians

le dessert: Vers une bonbon radieuse
Sunlight, oxygen
Served in large portions

Space and light and order. Those are the things that men need just as much as they need bread or a place to sleep. (Le Corbusier, ca. 1927)

Bon Appétit


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