Chandigarh, March 18
On the request of the UT Administration, France has proposed a comprehensive cooperation programme aiming at providing expertise on the preservation of buildings as well as heritage furniture.
Experts hailing from several French institutions such as Le Corbusier Foundation, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Culture, Embassy of France in India and French Institute in India undertook a mission to the city in November last year.
Following the mission, French experts provided recommendations to preserve the iconic modernist furniture heritage of Chandigarh, which was designed by Le Corbusier. The recommendations include identifying a permanent team of trainees, conducting a preliminary study on the furniture and setting up a model work site at the Chandigarh Architecture Museum. Local artisans and craftsmen were also recommended to be trained on modernist furniture conservation techniques.
A statement from French Ambassador to India stated that recommendations encompass various actions, including identification of a permanent team of local trainees who will be responsible for day-to-day activities of the pilot project on the preservation of furniture heritage. This team of eight people will be selected by the Heritage Item Protection Cell of Chandigarh in collaboration with French experts.
A training programme in conservation and restoration of furniture will be conducted by French experts for the local team of trainees, both in Chandigarh during on-site missions and online through webinars and workshops. The local team will be trained to handle the inventory and daily management of furniture, restoration of objects and implementation of preventive conservation measures, among others.
A preliminary study would be conducted on UT’s furniture to identify and inventory the objects with heritage value for preservation. The study will focus on developing scientific and technical knowledge on furniture collection, evaluating their need for restoration depending on their condition and most importantly developing and implementing a public policy for the protection of such heritage, stated the statement.
A model work site would be set up at the Chandigarh Architecture Museum, which houses a significant number of Le Corbusier and Jeanneret furniture. It will be carried out jointly by French experts and the local team of trainees.
An operational network would be established between the French and Indian police authorities to fight against trafficking of furniture heritage and the network would allow real-time reporting of suspicions of theft or concealment. In addition to this, direct Paris-Chandigarh communication channel, an awareness seminar for local police officers, will be held this year with the aim of providing recommendations to strengthen the legal framework for the protection of these objects.
The Ambassador said France was ready to provide any further expertise, as may be required. These topics would also be further discussed later this year on the occasion of the Annual International Permanent Conference on Corbusier’s world heritage, which would be held in India.
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