Charlotte Perriand’s manifesto “Wood or Metal” was first published April 1929 in The Studio (no.441, pp.278-79). In its original form the text included a selection of words that were intentionally capitalized.
IT IS A REVOLUTION
WHAT IS HIS HOUSE TO BE?
MATERIAL NOW IN USE AND MATERIAL THAT OUGHT TO BE USED. THRUST
IT IS A REVOLUTION.
ÆSTHETICS OF METAL.
UNITY IN ARCHITECTURE
AS FOR THE PUBLIC:
LONG LIVE COMMERCE.
THE MAN OF THE XXth CENTURY
BRIGHTNESS LOYALTY LIBERTY
WE MUST KEEP MORALLY AND PHYSICALLY FIT.
Perriand presented Le Bar sous le toit (the bar under the roof) to the public in the context of the Autumn Salon of 1927. The set up emulated her own apartment’s hallway located at Place Saint Sulpice. Its low roof, typical element for a Parisian apartment at the time, enclosed a corner equipped with a curved bar counter. A large square window served as dividing point between two slabs protruding from the wall surface. Stools, a couch and a low table positioned on the opposite side of the bar completed a meeting space within this domestic environment. The bar had a bright metal finish and was made of steel. The leather armchairs were made with leather in pink and blue hues, giving a rather industrial feeling to the space, moving further away from the conventional context of a residential interior.
In 1962 Stanley Brouwn wrote about the end of art and science in a future (4000 a.d.) which will see music, theater, art, displaced.
THERE WILL BE
These are the things that will persevere, they will stay and thrive in an amnesiac universe that broke all links to the past, unable to reconnect to the collective unconscious that used to shape and form everything. I wonder what will happen to the bar, the chair, the body, or even the book when this time comes. I wonder to what extent, to what direction, to what watery state these things (?), these primordials (?) will vanish, ferment, transcend. If Stanley Brouwn turns out to be right, the freedom that comes with withdrawal is unavoidable and joyous. The triumphant fictions of dominant Man, of Hero vanquishing all, of the Intruder, will be proven obsolete and a bureaucrat’s dream.
She was truthful, factual, yet cursed to be ignored.
“Still there are seeds to be gathered, and room in the bag of stars.”1
1Ursula K. Le Guin, The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction (London: Ignota, 2019), 37.
– Haris Giannouras, January 2023
kindly supported by
Mortal Astronauts, Stadt Köln, Kunsthochschule Mainz