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The colours of Le Corbusier in India

The “Colours of Le Corbusier in India” exhibition that was showcased in Barcelona until the 30 of September was inspired in the research conducted by the architect Josep Quetglas into the sketches drawn by Enric Miralles and Elías Torres during their journey to India in 1992, when they visited the architecture of Le Corbusier in the cities of Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. La Porte Email of the Chandigarh Parliament was a magical episode for them. This gate enamelled in vibrant colours is perhaps Le Corbusier’s most symbolic, poetic, mysterious and least-known facet, with each hue having a meaning. The show presented at Enric Miralles Foundation contained photographs, sketches and travelogues that allowed visitors to revisit the experience through the eyes of the two architects, Enric Miralles and Elías Torres.

Le Corbusier entered into the life of Enric Miralles in the latter’s youth. As a student he saw a certain “rotundity” and extreme technical definition in his drawings and annotations. He was probably the best teacher Enric Miralles ever had during his professional career and was with him from beginning to end. During the trip to India, Enric filled with his blue-ink fountain pen a set of hardbound sketchbooks measuring 10.5x15cm which he covered in abstract drawings, with mental transcriptions of a reality that sought to put architecture centre stage. Elías, for his part, filled a set of 14x21-cm hardbound sketchbooks with more realistic drawings in black ballpoint pen, as if he sought to make a conceptualisation analysis. The viewpoint of the two architects directly transforms the landscape and the objects into pure architecture; both of them perceived the ability a single motif could have to transform and adopt new architectural shapes.

The exhibition was promoted by Gigacer Spa, which in collaboration with the Les Couleurs ® Le Corbusier Foundation has patented five collections of exclusive ceramics that faithfully reproduce Le Corbusier’s “Polychromie Architecturale” palette. Two of these collections were displayed in the exhibition and gave a close-up view of the famous colour variety present in La Porte Email of Chandigarh.

For Le Corbusier, the colour schemes of his buildings and designs were as important as the ground plan and the shape. Fascinated by the colours of nature, he conceived the “Polychromie Architecturale” palette, which consists of 63 hues, created in two stages: 43 soft tones in 1931 and 20 brighter ones in 1959. His colour palettes are based on the repetition of selected basic tones, from which other tones are derived. The different tones in each range can be freely combined, giving rise to innumerable harmonious ranges, and are thus an important source of inspiration when planning spaces and buildings and a valuable working tool for designers and architects.


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