Balkrishna Doshi and Le Corbusier - The Collector: Icons of Design New York Tuesday, December 16, 2014 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Mill Owners’ Association Building, Ahmedabad
    Robert Rubin, New York
    Sotheby's, New York, "Équipment Intérieur: A Private Collection," December 18, 2004, lots 541-545
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Eric Touchaleaume and Gerald Moreau, Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret: L'Aventure Indienne / The Indian Adventure – Design -Art -Architecture, Paris, 2010, p. 608

  • Catalogue Essay

    The Indian architect Balkrishna Doshi represented the Modern Architectural Research Group (MARG) and in 1947 became part of The Congrès internationaux d'architecture moderne (CIAM). In 1951 Doshi attended the CIAM XIII conference “The Heart of the City: Towards the Humanisation of Urban Life.” Founded in 1928, the CIAM was organized by Le Corbusier, and it was at the XIII conference in England, where Doshi met Le Corbusier and their professional relationship began.

    Doshi began working for Le Corbusier at the atelier located on rue de Sèvres, Paris. It was here Doshi became involved with the Mill Owners’ Association, returning to India from Paris in 1955 to oversee projects in Ahmedebad. On the year of his return, Doshi initiated furniture designs to furnish the Mill Owners’ Association, where he implemented Le Corbusier’s rigorous standards and the influence learned during his time at rue de Sèvres. Doshi considered all factors set out by Le Corbusier and applied a methodical approach when designing under his supervision and produced works which resonated within their designated locations inside of the building.

    Le Corbusier was commissioned in 1951 by chairman Surottam Hutheesing to build the Mill Owner’s Association in the city of Ahmedebad, located in the Indian state of Gujarat. Overlooking the Sabarmati River, the Mill Owner’s Association’s employees had a picturesque view architecturally framed from each floor. When visiting Ahmedebad in the 1980s, Italian architect Ettore Sottsass was taken to the Mill Owners’ Association, where he was evidently struck by its magnificence and wrote the following: “It is a mighty building. In very thick slabs of bare concrete, with enormous pillars and a vast interior. The whole building is full of air. Le Corbusier had understood that in India the Seasons, the years, the monsoons and the scorching summers will wear away any construction that is not more than mighty, corroding and killing it.” (Domus, no. 880, April 2005, p. 21)

    The furniture designed for the Mill Owners’ Association upholds Le Corbusier’s prophetic and utopian vision. Sottsass's reflections can also be applied to the furniture: “The scale was not only convenient to the Mill Owners’ Association: Le Corbusier had also designed it in the light of his own interpretation of India’s destiny.” (Domus, 2005, ibid)


Set of five stools, model no. LC-AH-10-A, from the Office of the Secretary General of the Mill Owners' Association Building, Ahmedabad

circa 1953
Teak, painted iron.
Each: 16 1/2 in. (41.9 cm) high
Underside of each stool respectively painted with M.O.A.1./A.T.M.A.522, A.T.M.A.520/M.O.A.2, A.T.M.A.519/M.O.A.3, M.O.A.4/A.T.M.A.521, and M.O.A.6/A.T.M.A.524.

$20,000 - 25,000 

Sold for $40,000

Contact Specialist
Alexander Payne
Worldwide Head of Design
+44 20 7318 4052

Alex Heminway
Director of Design
New York
+1 212 940 1268

The Collector: Icons of Design

New York Auction 16 December 2014 5pm