Designed as a “small laboratory” Charlotte Perriand and Le Corbusier’s kitchen was created to simplify routine domestic tasks. As one of the iconic examples of post-war modern equipment, it echoes considerations that were already present during the 1920s and 1930s, in particular with the Frankfurt kitchen (Frankfurter Küche) designed in 1926 by the Austrian architect, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky and the Cubex by Louis-Herman de Koninck (1931).
Considered the heart of the family home, the kitchen in the Marseille Unité d’Habitation is a convivial space, half-open to the living areas. The kitchen’s plan is a square of 4.80 m, allowing all the equipment to be within reach to everyone simply by pivoting. Placed close to the building’s large windows, it benefits from natural light. While a bar cabinet facilitates the passing of dishes, sliding doors mean that any mess on worktables can be hidden, to maintain the apartment’s harmony. The equipment of this kitchen has become one with the concrete structure of the Habitation and include, amongst others: an electric cooker and an oven, a double sink, one of which is an automatic refuse chute, a refrigerating cabinet, two large tables covered in metal around the sink, cupboards and units for storing utensils, and finally a system that was still quite rare in France at the time: a vapour extraction hood connected to the building’s general ventilation. While it allowed considerable saving of space, the kitchen of the Marseille Unité d’Habitation is a major record of the democratization of domestic comfort.