CHANDIGARH ON Tuesday rediscovered an important part of its history when a replica of the first paddle boat again sailed on the waters of the Sukhna Lake. It was launched by UT Adviser Manoj Parida.
Le Corbusier clearly prohibited the use of motor boats on the lake to maintain its peace and tranquillity. The first paddle boat for the Sukhna Lake was designed by Pierre Jeanneret in 1954.
This paddle boat showcased the versatility of Jeanneret as a designer and had the same aesthetics as his buildings and furniture. However, a few years ago, these boats were removed from the lake and later disposed of.
Under the project “Building Chandigarh”, French artist Pierrick Mouton in collaboration with Alliance Française de Chandigarh developed a replica of the same boat which was launched at the Sukhna Lake.
The boat was made using drawings made on the basis of archival pictures and constructed by a local carpenter. It will eventually be kept at the Jeanneret house where the first prototype was made on the lawn of this house.
Deepika Gandhi, director, Le Corbusier Centre, said that the launch of the boat is a befitting commemoration of the contribution of Jeanneret to the creation of Chandigarh. She said that such was Jeanneret’s love for the city and the Sukhna Lake that he had specified that after his death he should not be buried but cremated and his ashes be immersed in the Sukhna Lake. His niece brought his ashes from Geneva in 1970 and they were immersed here as per his wish.
Another interesting event on the occasion was the plantation of a tree that was brought from Switzerland to Chandigarh. In the garden of the Villa “le lac (house of the lake)” in Switzerland, Le Corbusier had planted a Paulownia tomentosa tree which eventually became a defining feature of the house. A cutting of the same tree that grew on the terrace of Villa “le lac” was brought to Chandigarh by Pierrick Mouton and planted here at the Sukhna Lake by the Adviser. According to Sylvain Coin, director, Alliance Française, this reflects the philosophy of open to give and open to receive which was advocated by Corbusier himself. Laying to rest the concerns about an alien tree thriving in Chandigarh, Prof Rajnish Wattas shared an interesting fact that trees of the same species are in fact growing in the lake reserve forest.
The chief guest for the event was Parida. He lauded the effort of Pierrick Mouton and thanked Alliance Française for this priceless addition to the city’s heritage. He hoped that this is one of the many ventures of Indo French collaboration that enriches both the countries.
About Pierrick Mouton
Pierrick Mouton works with film and installation. He had an opportunity to visit Chandigarh in August 2018 as part of a residency (Clark House Initiative, Mumbai). As part of his research, Pierrick’s work was to focus on reinterpreting the city through its history in order to reactivate elements of the past in the present and reveal them to the inhabitants. According to the project, the first step was the development of the paddle plan, based on the information gathered on site (photographs, plans, testimonials from artisans who have potentially collaborated with Pierre Jeanneret, etc.) The second stage consisted of the realisation of the boat with the help of local craftsmen. It was stated that each step of the construction of the paddle boat will be documented and made visible in the form of a film.