DesignBriana E. Heard Kanye West performs live in New York City in October 2012.
Kanye West's fascination with lights is as well documented as his award-show antics. First there's "All of the Lights," the bombastic single off his 2010 album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Then there's his U.S. preview tour this year to promote his follow-up, Yeezus, which will be released on Tuesday. West has been projecting his face on buildings across the nation—to the delight of some cities and the dismay of others.
Yeezy had more to say about light in an interview published last night by The New York Times. West tells the paper of record how his sound has evolved from his soulful 2004 debut, The College Dropout, to his forthcoming release, which by all accounts is angular and minimal. West cites one factor that shaped his development.
"Architecture," West says. "[Y]ou know, this one Corbusier lamp was like, my greatest inspiration. I lived in Paris in this loft space and recorded in my living room, and it just had the worst acoustics possible, but also the songs had to be super simple, because if you turned up some complicated sound and a track with too much bass, it’s not going to work in that space. This is earlier this year."
Le Corbusier, Escargot, 1954.
So which lamp might that be? Corb designed several in 1954, several of which were reissued recently by Nemo-Cassina lighting. The Escargot isn't exactly a minimalist's lamp; smart money's on the Applique de Marseille or the Lampe de Marseille. "I would go to museums and just like, the Louvre would have a furniture exhibit, and I visited it like, five times, even privately," West continues, in his interview with the Times. "And I would go see actual Corbusier homes in real life and just talk about, you know, why did they design it? They did like, the biggest glass panes that had ever been done. Like I say, I’m a minimalist in a rapper’s body."
Le Corbusier, Applique de Marseille, 1954.
Le Corbusier, Projecteur 365, 1954.
West might've seen more Corbusier this year in Milan or Miami, places he no doubt frequents. In any case, in seeing a certain seamlessness between design in furniture, design in architecture, and design in light, West is not far off from what Corb had to say about the subject.
"Light and illumination are inseparable components of form, space, and light," Le Corbusier once said. "These are the things that create ambiance and feel of a place, as well as the expression of a structure that houses the functions within it and around it. Light renders texture, illuminates surface, and provides sparkle and life."
Le Corbusier, Lampe de Marseille, 1954.