Art Basel Miami: Charlotte Perriand Beach House

I 1927, Le Corbusier invited French architect and designer Charlotte Perriand, when she was just 24, to join his studio. In 1931, Charlotte Perriand began to exhibit under her own name, designing buildings, interiors, furniture, and lighting. Even if you do not recognize her name, you know her work—among the most successful pieces she designed in collaboration with Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, are the the LC4 Chaise Longue and the LC3 Armchair, both produced by Cassina. She also co-designed the Prouvé Potence Lamp, a style that is incredibly popular right now.

I went to Art Basel Miami for the first time yesterday, with my friend Deb, who is an architect with a minimalist, modernist aesthetic. Unsurprisingly,  Charlotte Perriand’s beach house topped her list. Designed in 1934 as a competition entry for the French magazine Architecture Today, the modernist house was intended as a prefabricated, budget-conscious vacation home suitable for mass production. Perriand won second prize; the homes were never put into production.

Fashion design house Louis Vuitton worked with Perriand’s daughter, Pernette Perriand-Barsac, to construct a prototype according to the original plans, complete with furnishings. It is erected behind The Raleigh Hotel (a quintessential Miami Deco boutique hotel), so we made our way through the lobby, out past the pool, and through a little opening in the back hedge, where a media garden party was in progress. (And yes, we helped ourselves to grilled lobster.) The little structure was just beyond that, almost on the edge of the beach. 

The design is so minimal, yet thoroughly functional. The wood is so satisfying to the touch and to the eye, very smooth. We glided around in awe. Here are my photos. The first one is an official image, courtesy of Louis Vuitton, which provides a good overall perspective.

Louis Vuitton Beach House Art Basel Miami

Looking at the house straight on. We entered from the back. The center is an open air, courtyard-like type of space, with a canvas awning overhead.


We entered up this ramp, barefoot.


A wood feature wall with simple shelves holds natural objects from the sea.


When you first walk in, the kitchen is to the left, then the dining area and a sitting area. This is the view from the kitchen.


A closer up shot of the built in table and banquette.


The divider between the banquette and the sitting area.


And a space to lounge, with a cowhide rug. And the coolest lighting. I also love the way the square window opens.


 There’s sliding doors the lounge area side of the divider, for storage.


Standing in the sitting area, looking back towards the kitchen.


 The back wall of the structure.


 The sink and counter are stainless steel. That taller divider is topped with slate. Love the plywood walls!


 Open shelving for dishware; just enough for a weekend.


Stepping back into the courtyard.


There’s a low, Japanese-style table in the middle of the courtyard space. The stools are made from tree stumps.


Towards the front of the courtyard, under the awning portion, are two low lounge chairs, overlooking a glass railing.


 Looking onto the little party, towards the hotel.


 This is the front room along the right side of the house. A little bedroom with a desk.


Another little room, with storage and green pocket door, leads to the bathroom. The toilet is behind the red pocket door.


The open wood slat floors in the bathroom gives it a very beachy feel.


Clad completely in stainless steel. Mod red medicine chest.


 All the greenery out the windows is great.

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Learn more! Buy the books.

Charlotte Perriand


Charlotte Perriand : Objects and Furniture Design


I’m headed back to Miami now. More on Monday!

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