In keeping with the principle of the free plan – founded by Le Corbusier and
developed in the design world by Italian designer Ettore Sottsass and his 1970s-era
functional models – Simon Thiou attempts to materialize a utopian lifestyle for
Hôtel Le Cambronne, where every daily vital function is placed in its own
The defining moment for these reflections on the evolution of the domestic
environment appeared in 1972, during the seminal exhibition, Italy: The New
Domestic Landscape at the MOMA in New York, where Italian designers proposed
new ways of living through utopian environments.
For that show, Ettore Sottsass produced a series of living spaces, each of which
were compartmentalized in a series of containers. The furniture – a shower,
bathroom, wardrobe, a reading room, a jukebox, a library – were all placed on
wheels, and the objective was to create modular elements that could combine with
Beyond the functional and utilitarian aspects of this design, it also offered a new
way of living – one that was relaxed and nomadic, and able to transform as society
Simon Thiou saw his room at Hôtel Le Cambronne as a blank page upon which he
could elaborate his thinking about domestic environments.
Thiou adapts this idea of Utopia (etymologically, “no place”) to a real space – a hotel
room, which is precisely that: an often impersonal space that one simply passes
through. For one night, he thus offers the experience of a truly vital space.
The only images present are three lithograph prints of monoliths interspersed
throughout the space. These photos – which look like stones and are, themselves,
printed using a lithographic stone – remain enigmatic.
Treat the room as a free plan and adapt it any way you like.
Move the modules, each of which contain one or several functions, and lay them
out however suits you best.
Electrical outlets are placed at regular intervals throughout the room for you to
plug in any of the units that need them.
To materialize your experience of the Cellule Vitale, Simon Thiou designed the room
and its furniture elements in shades of black and grey. Like with a cave, in an
environment conducive to introspection, perhaps you will be encouraged to
imagine new ways of thinking and dreaming…