A direct contrast to the radical verticality of the hallway comes from the horizontal expansion of the gallery, whose major feature is the elegant curved ramp curled into the hollow of the façade. The device of the ramp was to be found in Le Corbusier’s work from the beginning of the 1920s and in his later constructions. As opposed to the monochromy of the entrance hall, broad expanses of pure colour (burnt umber, light blue, light grey and yellow ochre) distinguish the diverse elements and structure the volumes of the gallery.
From the entrance, the visitor glimpses into the various spaces of the house, he is invited to take an ‘architectural promenade’, a concept the architect highly valued. The visitor’s view of the hall constantly changes as he circulates about the house, discovering new perspectives at each floor. In the art gallery, the ‘promenade architectural’ is symbolized by the interior ramp. For Le Corbusier, the ramp was the instrument of choice to connect two given floors. Additionally, this architectural element directs the visitor and orchestrates a series of spectacular shifting viewpoints, bringing interior and exterior spaces into symbiosis with one another.
The furniture was either conceived or selected by Le Corbusier. For the most part, the storage units are built-in elements, integrated fully into the architecture itself. An array of freestanding pieces complement these functional components: Thonet chairs, Maple armchairs, La Roche tables designed by Le Corbusier (reproduced today by Cassina), Berber rugs, garden furniture… Some had been added to the house at a later date, like the reclining armchair in 1930 (designed with Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand). The careful attention Le Corbusier paid to the interior design of the house would be a constant factor in his later work.
At Maison La Roche, Le Corbusier systematically experimented on the introduction of colour in architecture for the first time. His treatment of polychromy in the building well illustrates the continuity that, for him, ran between his two practices: his activity as a painter and his work as an architect. This approach, a completely experimental one and a constant preoccupation with Le Corbusier, aims to achieve a synthesis of art and architecture. Comparing the spaces and polychromy of Maison La Roche with Le Corbusier’s paintings of the same period shows how much they correspond.
Since the first general restoration in 1970, which aimed to open the Maison La Roche to the public, numerous interventions have taken place to rehabilitate the edifice. In 2009, a new restoration campaign was completed. The objective was to evidence the original, double function of the house-gallery by allowing the visitor to access the totality of rooms in the building (particularly La Roche’s bedroom, also called the ‘Purist Bedroom’). The interior restoration required an exhaustive study of the original colours and materials. Conservators conducted surveys on the walls and various furnishings, some of which can still be seen today.