Conversation Piece: Narkomfin


Wooden model and Formica chairs.

Intervention in the Casa Capell, Mataró, as part of the “Hidden Modernity” project.

Conversation Piece is a term used to describe a type of paintings from the 18th century. The conversation pieces are usually portraits of groups of family or friends engaged in conversation in domestic environments. Eventually, however, this term led to defining any object or part thereof which caused debate because of its unusual status.

This particular Conversation Piece placed two Formica chairs, typical of things found in homes in the 50s and 60s face to face and a model of the Narkomfin social housing building was used to bridge them: an unusual object that provokes conversation.

In the 1930s, Le Corbusier travelled to the Soviet Union to learn about the radical experiments of collectivism and social housing undertaken by young Russian architects, and the Narkomfin is the most emblematic building of this experiment, which was aborted by Stalinism. Le Corbusier talks about the success and failure of these social experiments from which he drew lessons for his great project of collective housing: the Unité d’Habitation in Marseille.

*Property of: Col·lecció “La Caixa” Art Contemporani