Charlotte Perriand is best known for her elegant modernist tubular steel furniture of the 1920s and 1930s, but it was her architecture that stole the show at this year’s Salone del Mobile in Milan.
An exhibition of her Refuge Tonneau showcased the kind of prefabricated aluminum buildings and interiors Perriand designed in the 1930s. Inspired by a children’s fairground ride in Croatia, Perriand had the idea for a mobile mountain refuge in 1936. Two years later, working with Pierre Jeanneret, she developed this dodecahedron structure, consisting of a metal frame, central pole and umbrella-like top with 12 spokes. It was initially envisioned for the steep terrain of the Alps, but one can easily see this “space shuttle–mountain shelter” taking off in the aeronautic world.
The interior is made from pinewood, giving the minimal structure a welcoming feel. The heater is inside the central steel pillar and warms the entire interior while occupying as little space as possible.