When Alban and Dominique Gerardin bought Marseille's Hotel Le Corbusier two years ago, the couple wanted to recapture the architect's original vision for the landmark building: a space that's both functional and livable. Known as La Cité Radieuse, the 1952 concrete structure was designed to look like a ship. The hotel comprises two floors in the building, which also includes shops, offices, and apartments housing around 1,500 residents.
Alban, a management consultant, and Dominique, a former lawyer, had their work cut out for them. They scoured French flea markets for inspiration, picking up '50s pieces by Charlotte Perriand; they installed La Roche lamps, the light fixtures Corbusier originally designed for the building; and they added Corbusier-designed chaise lounges and armchairs to the reception area and rooms.
The redone spaces range from narrow 175-square-foot cabin rooms ($66) to 345-square-foot studios (bottom, $114), which also have terraces. One thing the studios don't have is bathroom doors: The architect considered them an aesthetic distraction. "Le Corbusier thought the real luxuries were light, serenity, and health," says Dominique. "Not clutter." All guests have access to a jogging track and wading pool on the roof. 280 blvd.Michelet, 011-33/4-91-16-78-00, hotellecorbusier.com.