Charlotte Perriand and Les Arcs : confort and design
Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999) was a French architect and designer that got famous by collaborating with Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, Corbusier’s cousin. She also is important for doing the first house in the Petite Architecture Style, the Bivouac Shelter (1936).
Perriand started to work with Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret in 1924. Together, they designed the B306 chaise and the steel-framed “Gran Confort” club chair. Her first designs were made using expensive materials that also were technically difficult to work with. Nevertheless, in the 1930s her focus became more egalitarian and she started to work with wood and cane, more affordable materials.
Subsequently that period, she worked for some years with Jean Prouvé. However, in 1940, after France surrendered in the World War II, Perriand travelled to Japan and Vietnam, only coming back to Paris, France, in 1946, where she revived her work as an independent designer. One of her major works of this period was the three Arcs that she designed for the Les Arcs, in Savoie, France.
Les Arcs, Savoie, France
Les Arcs is one of the major works of Perriand. It’s a ski resort located in Savoie, France, divided into five areas - Bourg-Saint-Maurice, Arc 1600, Arc 1800, Arc 1950, and Arc 2000. Perriand was responsible for three of these areas: Arc 1600, Arc 1800 and Arc 2000.
The main design concepts were that the buildings should follow the landscape in a way that when you are on the top of the mountain, the buildings disappear, and that visitors that come to a ski resort doesn’t want to stay inside a hotel room. Thinking about that, Perriand designed the buildings in a way that reassembles a staircase, using retreats after a certain level, and that follows the contour lines of the mountain they are built in. She also focused on creating minimalist rooms that are open to the sun and the nature that is around, using glass and bright solid colours on the inside.
The idea was that, since the ones that are staying on the hotel is interested in the nature around the hotel complex, they could see all around while inside the building area and inside their rooms.
When you visit the area, the first area that you see that was designed by Perriand is the Arc 1600, opened in 1968. You can arrive at it by the Bourg Saint Maurice TGV train station. This area has 30 shops, hotel rooms and meeting rooms. The second arc and the biggest is the Arc 1800, opened in 1974 and located above the Arc 1600. It’s made of 4 pedestrian villages and, according to the Les Arcs Paradiski, is the junction zone of Paradiski, a ski-area in the Tarentaise Valley, France, that has “425 km of runs from 3226 m down to 1200 meters in altitude.
With 2 peaks above 3000 m and 262 runs over a multitude of slopes” After this, there is the Arc 1950, an area that wasn’t designed by Perriand and is made of an architecture that is influenced by the local architecture. The final and highest area is the Arc 2000, opened in 1979, is linked to the Arc 1950 by a free pedestrian gondola. This area is known for hosting speed skiing events and is prepared for the emergence of new snow-related sports and with its diversified playground at the heart of Paradiski, making this the best arc for those interested in snow sports and adventures.
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NEUWERK. “Charlotte Perriand”. Retrieved August 10, 2018 (https://www.slideshare.net/neuwerk/referat-bivouac-shelter-charlotte-perriand/5).
LES ARCS PARADISKI. “Skiing Area”. Retrieved March 26, 2019. (https://en.lesarcs.com/skiing-area.html).
LES ARCS PARADISKI. “Arc 2000: La Sportive”. Retrieved March 26, 2019. (https://en.lesarcs.com/arc-2000.html).