Nothing kills a religious awakening at church faster than a view of your pew neighbor’s nose hair, but we suspect that’s exactly what was happening at the Chapel of the Carmelites of the Assumption in Paris. Designed in 1959 by Noël Lemaresquier, a disciple of Le Corbusier, the chapel transformed into a sort of pilgrims? holy land 48 years later, when its founder Anne-Eugénie Milleret de Brou was sainted, and practically overnight, the place started bursting at the nave.
So the nuns decided to renovate. They hired 3box to update the minimalist architecture and John Doe Studio to design liturgical furniture that’s both faithful to Lemaresquier’s aesthetic and can accommodate swarms of religious tourists. The resulting suite — including oak pews, prayer kneelers, a stone font, a black granite altar, a lectern, and a tabernacle — seems pretty skeletal compared with all the dreary stuff we remember from chapel (the heavy wood, the idols displayed like wallpaper, the crippling guilt. Just kidding about that last one!). And it totally works. It’s got what looks like the roominess of a small cathedral and the soul of a Vitra showroom, which is exactly how we like our churches.
A slideshow of the renovation follows.
[Images courtesy of John Doe Studio]