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The Brussels’ Belgium Worlds Fair was held in 1958. At the fairgrounds was the Pavillion for the Philips Electronics Company of the Netherlands designed by Le Corbusier. It was designed to show an electronic play made possible by a variety of Philips equipment and it was the first electronic play ever in a World’s Fair.
" The Electronic Poem"

Book Cover

The temporary structure could accommodate 20,000 visitors a day and would show the play 40 times per day. The play was a mix of light, sound and film in a specially designed acoustic setting which placed the spectator in the middle giving him a total experience in the absorption of image, movement and sound.

The play or The Electronic Poem is a phrase coined by Le Corbusier. It lasted about eight minutes and was divided into seven sections. The sound was designed by Edgard Varese. The building structure was a multi-curved, self-supporting structure in concrete, unlike any other one designed by the architect, it borrowed some sloping roof cues from Ronchamps. For the occasion, a booklet was prepared.

Le Corbusier himself supplied the drawings which were used for pages 66-70 and used by his collaborator Jean Petit for the cover design.

corbusier 2

corbu10The book measures 8×8 inches and is in the Dutch language with a separate laid in page in French, German and English. From this sheet the following quote, “It is necessarily a somewhat sketchy account, but the over-all effect of this selection of pictures is to make it clear how, since its creation, humanity has struggled for harmony and happiness and defended itself against sorrow and catastrophe, how it has been torn between love and hate, between the elevated and unattainable ideal and the inevitable irritations of everyday life”, very much the Master himself and at his best.

corbusiercorbusier 1corbu8Interesting, there is no mention of this specific book on the official LeCorbusier Foundation website, even though it has photos of the event on the site!

Here is a Youtube video documentary by the Virtual Electronic Poem Project (VEP) that is a reconstruction of the Pavillion with electronic music .

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