Exhibition of Les Arcs design opens in London

17th June 2021, by Abi Butcher

The exhibition is dedicated to Charlotte Perriand, the famous female designer of Les Arcs

The exhibition is dedicated to Charlotte Perriand, the famous female designer of Les Arcs

An exhibition dedicated to Charlotte Perriand, the famous female designer of the French ski resort of Les Arcs, will open this weekend in London.

“Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life” runs from 19 June to 5 September 2021 at the Design Museum in Kensington, recounting her pioneering designs and modern ideas as well as Perriand’s passion for the mountains.

The development of the ski resort was the most ambitious project of Perriand’s life; she started it aged 65 and devoted the last 20 years of her career to it. Her visionary spirit and principles were reflected in the design of apartments that sought to free women from cooking and cleaning — major constraints on their time during the 1960s and 1970s, when Les Arcs was created.

Perriand worked with developer Roger Godino and Robert Blanc, a mountain guide who grew up in the area and can be credited with integrating kitchens that opened onto the living space — a revolution at the time that is almost universal today.

Together, the three resolved to use local materials and conserve old mountain chalets, creating a modern architecture that didn’t attempt to imitate traditional designs. They concentrated accommodation so as not to ‘crowd’ the surrounding mountains. Arc 1800 and Arc 1600 were designed as summer resorts as well as for winter recreation — another pioneering way of thinking for the time.

Read about the history of Les Arcs here.

Perriand designed raised balconies to allow light to enter the apartments fully, offering a wider view of the mountain panorama and she conceived and designed each of furniture within.

In 2006, the architecture of Arc 1800 and Arc 1600 was awarded, in its entirety, the “Remarkable Contemporary Architecture” label by the French Ministry of Culture.

Out in resort, there are numerous architecture tours organised with local guides to do on foot or on skis, most of them free of charge and running throughout the summer and winter.

While we can’t travel to France, skiers close to London can go and see the museum and appreciate the wonder of the mountains and all the thought that has gone into the design and creation of the ski resort that we know and love.

For more information on the exhibition and tickets, visit designmuseum.org

To read Where to Ski & Snowboard’s independent review of Les Arcs, click here.

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