The straight line is an anomaly in the work of Oscar Niemeyer, whose entire career has been concisely described as a “personal struggle with the right angle”. As is well known, Niemeyer is a disciple of the curve, a fond admirer of the splined beauty [insert gauche, anachronistic reference to the “feminine” figure here] that characterizes nearly all of his hundreds of buildings and projects. This is not to say that the Brazilian architect’s baroque-modernist aesthetic is without a political dimension; to do so would be ignorant of Niemeyer’s personal politics (he’s a lifelong communist) and the collectivized spaces that mark his architectural and urban schemes (see the blank squares at Brasilia or even the recently shuttered Centro Niemeyer, massive intentionally featureless rostra where the public may gather unencumbered by the frilly obstacles posed by planters and shrubbery). His design for the French Communist Party in Paris combines both aspects of his person and talent.
The building, a favorite of the architect, follows a typical modernist formal scheme, with a large office bloc straddled atop an avenue of pilotis and foregrounded by a secondary structure that reconciles the complex’s scale and program to pedestrians. This being Niemeyer, both components diverge from the modernist template, replacing the latter’s ubiquitous rectilinearity with round, playful curves. FREAKS freearchitects‘ sticker installation “restores” order to the building’s evident capriciousness, superimposing x and y coordinates on its undulating facade.
Commissioned by the National Council of French Architects, ‘Sur Mesure’ (translate as “Bespoke”) was part of an architecture event called “Le droit à l’architecture” (“The right of architecture”), whose mission it is to promote architecture to the public. The project, which marks the first time the building has been altered or added to since being listed as a national historic monument, is a simple and fun intervention that both envigorates Niemeyer’s weathered landmark and, more importantly, calls attention architecture’s fundamental presence (physical or otherwise) in the public arena.