THESIS - Interior Design Palette for Corbusier’s
Capitol Complex, Chandigarh


Interior restoration and Conservation of UNESCO World Heritage Site, Capitol Complex Chandigarh (Civil Secretariat)


One man's trash,
Is another man's treasure.
Shame on you India!
And hats off to you savy French dealers.
If y'all hadn't "saved" it,
It probably would have ended up as firewood,
But we will never really know.
All we do know is that
The billionaires
(And mere millionaires)
Of the art and design world
Can’t get enough of it..
  • To do an archival research of the entire parts of The Capitol Complex (mainly Secretariat- Minister room, Chief Minister room, Services) and understand the integrities of the spread.

  • Study the Scope area, from walls to false ceiling, services, and understand the current detoriated conditions of this modern master piece of architecture.

  • To understand the basic requirement of the client i.e. the Government officers and users of Punjab and Haryana and designing the interiors.

  • To study the basic integrities of developing a design palette.

  • To design an interior template, including materials, colours, furniture, lighting, services etc. that will be set as guidelines for any interior restoration work to be done in the Capitol Complex as per the Site Management Plan for the world heritage site.


The report includes research and study of Le Corbusier’s declared World Heritage Site, Capitol complex in Chandigarh. The primary focus is to create a design palette for all the three buildings of Capitol Complex i.e. The High Court, Assembly and Secretariat buildings. This palette is a reference and to do for all the future works related to interiors guiding and instructing them about furniture, colour palette and design palette as well giving a visual look and feel of the interior spaces. The design and material palette is derived from historical reference and in relevance to current need of these buildings. The palette plays an important role in the part of restoring the built as it would became a central medium that shows how le Corbusier imagined the entire space which is summarised after studying his design philosophy, archival drawings of the Capitol Complex drawn by the masters himself in his studio in Paris and Chandigarh.

“The materials of city planning are: sky, space, trees, steel and cement; in that order and that hierarchy”

Drawing from the famous quote by Le Corbusier, the vision is to protect the setting, enhance the perception and preserve the material integrity of the site, as a living container of the finest urban composition and fully realised city planning ideals as conceptualised by Le Corbusier during his entire life time.

“Monuments are human landmarks which men have created as symbols for their own ideals, for their aims and for their actions. They are intended to outline the period which originated them… they form a link, between the past and the future.

– Sigfried Giedion”




Furniture that will be executed on site is majorly designed by Pierre Jeanneret and Le Corbusier as per the archival sources .The site had original furniture which over a period of time has depleted, however there are still several original pieces that shall be used as a template to make new furniture to be utilised in the building and the historic furniture shall be restored to be reused. No furniture out of the palette shall be permitted for use. The furniture palette of the site is dominantly wood and upholstery furniture as per the below mentioned inventory. In clerical offices modular furniture may be used. In terms of partitions aluminium or/and glass partition as per standard partition detail will be used till junior offices level for interior divisions.


– Original Le Corbusier drawings mention a colour and material palette for all furnishing items. The same shall be executed on site. Light coloured cotton fabric to be used for curtains and Natural/ faux Leather for furnishings on furniture. The archival drawing by Le Corbusier mentions the color coding for all furnishings to be used.


Furniture Color Finishes is well defined in this inventory below which goes for the entire scope area of Secretariat Building following the hierarchy that runs in the Government Constituency-


Colour palette

The edifices of the Capitol Complex reflect his fascination with the play of colours juxtaposed against their ‘Beton brut’ (natural concrete surfaces) facades. The verdant landscapes of the semi-tropical vegetation of Chandigarh influenced him to relieve the monotony of his cuboid concrete structures by contrasting them with bold, primary colours. The colour scheme for Chandigarh was based on Le Corbusier’s polychromy.1 In secretariat primary colours have been used for all doors, in High Court light yellow coloured curtains with red colour for carpet and blue colour for furniture. The colour palette is an integral part of the Outstanding Universal Value for the historic interiors and shall be maintained throughout the buildings.




The interior palette composed is a resultant of a rigorous archival study and on site needs of the users in terms of function of the site. This palette revolves around a methodology where the research was taken place on the entire stretch of Capitol Complex, Chandigarh in terms of its current conditions, the amount of restoration needed and finding reasons to justify those conditions of the site. The interior restoration was then narrowed down to the case study of the part of site namely; High Court, Chandigarh and then that analysis method was applied to further form a detailed interior palette for 3 major scope areas of that very part. The interior restoration palette consists of major 3 parts; color, furniture, material and finishes.

Material n Finishes

material palette

Colour palette

Color palette is a resultant of the primary shades that was consistent in Le Corbusier’s Capitol complex Interiors to break the consistency of whites and blacks, as well as greys of concrete. Other shades are supplement which are giving a character to the room in terms of different elements being used to complete the space and make it look like a balance of functions.

Minister Room

Chief Minister Room

Furniture palette

Furniture Palette is an outcome of the study conducted by studying all the heritage furniture’s being present on the site as well as the stated archival furniture made by Pierre Jeanneret. The furniture mainly is solid teak and upholstered furniture with upholstery furnishings of faux or natural leather of particular mentioned shade.

Minister Room

Chief Minister Room


At the point when such an undertaking of conservation and restoration comes up in which includes saving legacy insides and its components the primary assignment is to ensure that, the practical reason doesn’t get lost, and does not bargain the personality and character of the structure while obliging the present necessity and requirements of the client at all obstructive way and with least interventions. Heritage interiors are a collection of architectural features and finishes and site- appropriate furniture and furnishings organized in space inside a historical building. It can’t be separated from the structure in which it exists. Heritage interiors can give especially incredible and suggestive interpretive encounters since they physically speak to a past crossroads in history done by somebody with rationale and information of the whole compositional setting. These spaces should be demonstrated uncommon enthusiasm to maintain a strategic distance from superfluous intercessions. At the point when a difference in use in any structure is presented and affirmed, each exertion should be made to limit the loss of huge inside spaces. It is important to comprehend that legacy insides climate as far as furniture, components or even completes are the significant premise of the tasteful esteem and can’t be undermined.


    • In depth philosophy of Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret they applied while designing interior spaces.
    • Parameters that are to be considered in the entire process that revolves around restoration and conservation of heritage interiors of that much specified interior setting.
  • Entire process of concluding an interior design palette for a space that belongs to an era and to a master like Le Corbusier.
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