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“Leurs charactéristiques communes sont la remise en question systématique, logique et brillante des habitudes du passé, et le refus des idées préconçues et traditionnelles” Pascal Courteault, ‘Automobiles Voisin 1919-1958’

Héritage

Avions Mies

A lot has been written about the relationship between Le Corbusier and Voisin. They met only once, but it is true they admired each other’s work, that Le Corbusier adorned pictures of his houses with Voisin automobiles and that Voisin financed Corbusier’s 1925 Voisin Plan for Paris. Like his famous contemporaries in architecture, Voisin applied rational principles to his designs, perhaps best noticeable in his airplanes. Pure, simple, lightweight -in fact he built the very first machine heavier than air to fly -in Europe that is. (Voisin himself however considered the Wright brother’s efforts a case of ‘falling with style’, and claimed to have build the first true airplane-worldwide.

1929 Mies van der Rohe: structure, efficiency, space and a roof about to take off into the sky.

Houdini II

Evidence suggests that Houdini’s flight in the Voisin Biplane was also the first powered flight caught on film. Cinema, being one of the other great new art forms of the 20th century, has had an impact on architecture. As we can read from a piece on Metropolis as a part of a Yale study of the influence of architecture on cinema and vice versa: “Today we have technology in the form of cellphones, iPods, laptops, Blackberrys, the internet and Maya, which are a distinctly different beast than cars and airplanes. In fact, stuff like a 3-d modeling program isn’t technology at all. It’s magic.” Wow.... like, we didn’t know that already, you know. But okay: here it is, and just to show everybody that advertising, architecture, magic, cinematography and bureaucracy were already deeply in love at the beginning of this century, let me show you this evidence, a picture of ‘illegal advertising’ made by the Amsterdam Office of Building and Advertising Control in 1927, of the Rembrandt Theatre, Amsterdam, the scene of the Great Houdini only 24 years earlier, now showing Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

Houdini

On January 21, 1903, just 9 days after a successful performance at the Rembrandt Theatre, Amsterdam, Harry Houdini added to his fame by making a great escape from the police station Halvemaansteeg, Amsterdam. (a building in our days occupied by the appropriately named Café Los (café ‘loose’). Then, seven years later, on March 18, 1910 Houdini was to put on another great show by making the first controlled, powered flight of an airplane in Australia, at Digger's Rest in Victoria, Australia -for those of you who live in the neighbourhood: a mile or so from the Digger’s Rest Railway Station. Harry Houdini reportedly bought his Voisin Biplane while touring in Hamburg for a mere 5000 US dollars. After his series of succesful flights ‘The Argus’ newspaper quotes him as saying “When I went up for the first time I thought for a minute that I was in a tree, then I knew I was flying. The funny thing was that as soon as I was aloft, all the tension and strain left me... ... As soon as I was up all my muscles relaxed, and I sat back. feeling a sense of ease. Freedom and exhilaration, that’s what it is...” Freedom and exhilaration, Voisin and Houdini.












Dutch Heritage


Over the last few months, while we were busy building the actual new Voisin prototype... Read more

The Auto R.A.I. of 1931


Avions Voisin, in Stand nr. 78, were naturally trying to cash in on their 50.000... Read more

The 17 Days of Montlhéry


Exclusive dealership of Avions Voisin in the Netherlands was held by a company ‘Cobor’, residing... Read more

The Car of the Future


At the 1934 Salon de l’Automobile in Paris, Gabriel Voisin seized the opportunity to outline his ideas for “la... Read more

The Square Piston Man


Gnome et Rhône entrusted to Voisin and l‘Aeromechanique the design and development of a 2000 bhp... Read more

Return to the Cradle


By 1938 Voisin Automobiles had practically ceased to exist. However... Read more

About the Bird


For Voisin, a man with rational design principles, it wouldn’t make sense to put a life-size bird on a radiator cap... Read more

The Art of Languishing


By 1938 Voisin Automobiles had practically ceased to exist. However... Read more

developable surfaces


At some point in the recently published correspondence between WF Hermans and Rudy Kousbroek (Machines en Emoties... Read more

Publicité


The Dutch authority on Gabriel Voisin, Rudy Kousbroek, has testified that Voisin was, in fact, an ad man avant la lettre. Most of the Voisin models went accompanied by brochures and leaflets... Read more

Avions Mies


A lot has been written about the relationship between Le Corbusier and Voisin. They met only... Read more

Houdini II


Evidence suggests that Houdini’s flight in the Voisin Biplane was also the first... Read more

Houdini


On January 21, 1903, just 9 days after a successful performance at the Rembrandt Theatre, Amsterdam, Harry Houdini added to his fame... Read more