Le Corbusier Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand
Swiss and French
Born 1887, La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland
Studied at the La Chaux-de-Fonds Municipal Art School
Born 1896, Geneva in Switzerland
Studied at the School of Fine Arts (Ecole des Beaux-Arts) Geneva
Born 1903, Paris in France
Studied at the School of the Central Union of Decorative Arts
Between 1927 and 1937, a collaboration was formed between Le Corbusier, his cousin Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand. Their work was ground-breaking and many of their furniture designs have become 20th-century classics: the cube-shaped Grand Confort armchair, the pony-skin chaise longue, and the leather swivel chair.
Each creative was individually brilliant, but it was the combination of their brilliance which cemented their historical significance.
Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known by his pseudonym Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the most important architects of the 20th century. A provocative writer, divisive urban planner, talented painter, and unparalleled polemicist, Le Corbusier’s influence on contemporary architecture is immeasurable.
Like Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe, he lacked formal training as an architect. Yet, he is seen as one of the pioneers of modern architecture. Yale University professor of architecture Alan Plattus, in his introduction to Deborah Gans’ book The Le Corbusier Guide proclaims that: “Le Corbusier has become not so much an object for our discourse as part of the very ground upon which that discourse must be founded”.
17 of Le Corbusier’s building projects are declared UNESCO World Heritage sites and 8 of his buildings, more than that of any other architect, are included in the list of 100 Most Important Buildings of the 20th Century.
Arnold-André-Pierre Jeanneret-Gris grew up in the French/Swiss mountain region of Jura. As a young student, he was a brilliant painter, artist and architect, greatly influenced by Le Corbusier, his cousin and mentor for life.
In 1922, the Jeanneret cousins set up an architectural practice together. In 1926 they published their manifesto “Five Points Towards a New Architecture” which served as the backbone for their architectural aesthetic.
Jeanneret’s contribution to the cousin-partnership was considerable, not least in introducing professionalism in following through projects and work on site – he often stimulated and provoked his cousin’s imagination or moderated it with his own realism. He frequently drew the first sketches for plans that he then gradually reworked and refined, with Le Corbusier playing an important part in ensuring the office’s continuity, coordinating work, and maintaining tight control over all the technical aspects.
Charlotte Perriand aimed to create functional living spaces in the belief that better design helps in creating a better society.
In her article L’Art de Vivre from 1981 she states: “The extension of the art of dwelling is the art of living — living in harmony with man’s deepest drives and with his adopted or fabricated environment”.
Perriand designed the LC4 chaise longue which made her famous all over the world at only 23. It has been said that Charlotte Perriand did for furniture what Coco Chanel did for dresses: a revolution all around the human body.
Twenty years after her death, Perriand’s brazen, maverick, youthful spirit once again thrilled Paris, with an epic exhibition of her life and work displayed at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in 2019. Rooms were kitted out with trapeze bars, there was a metallic alpine cabin that looked more like a lunar landing module and chairs in zinging colours that could be straight from the Milan furniture fair. Many think of 1920s modernism as a sober, static black-and-white affair, depicted in grainy archive photographs. But this exhibition showed Perriand’s world to be as bright as a rainbow and alive with ideas.
The partnership between these three brilliant individuals nearly did not take place.
In 1927, Charlotte Perriand applied to work in the hallowed studio of the great architect Le Corbusier and his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret. The response she received was curt. “We don’t embroider cushions here”. It was only after Le Corbusier attended the annual Salon d’Automne, that he found himself at Perriand’s Bar Sous le Toit, or Bar Under the Roof, which re-created a section of her own apartment. Le Corbusier was spellbound by Perriand’s work, which caused a sensation.
Le Corbusier hired her on the spot and Perriand joined the cousins’ high-minded plan to revolutionise the modern world through design. “Le Corbusier waited impatiently for me to bring the furniture to life,” she wrote in 1991 for her autobiography.
In a 1932 letter, he confirmed that the “entire responsibility” of realizing the “domestic equipment” of his buildings was hers: “Madame Perriand possesses exceptional qualities of inventiveness, initiative and realization in this domain.”
Perriand described the work as being highly collaborative between Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, and herself; they were “three fingers on one hand”. Together, they tackled the innovative project for “l’équipement d’intérieur de l’habitation” and the resulting designs were of great intellectual value and considerable commercial success. This project introduced a new idea of living as something free and relaxing.
In 1929 at the Paris Salon d’Automne, Jeanneret unveiled a set of modern furniture designed in collaboration with Le Corbusier and Perriand. Included were tubular steel chairs, stools and a set of modular steel storage units.
The distinct chrome plated tubular steel frames of the original LC series would go on to become iconic.
The LC4 has become one of the most recognizable chairs in the world. The LC2 and LC3 ‘great comfort sofas’ have become synonymous with modern design. Their creations are timeless- at home in any decade. Despite being designed over 90 years ago, their furniture continues to transcend modern trends.
The combined work of these three minds resulted in an ability to create furniture that wrote the design history and enhanced the design culture. Together, they proved that modern design could be visionary and efficient, as well as comfortable, elegant, and intimate.
Designed by Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand between 1927 and 1937.
- LC1 – Sling Chair, originally titled Basculant
- LC2 – Grand confort, petit modèle referred as Cushion Baskets
- LC3 – Grand confort, grand modèle referred as Cushion Baskets
- LC4 – Chaise longue “Long chair”
- LC5 – Sofa Bed
- F – Canapé
- LC6 – Table
- LC7 – The Swivel Chair
- LC8 – Swivel Stool
- LC9 – Bathroom Stool
- LC10 P – Rectangular Low Table
- LC11 P – Table
- LC12 – Table designed for Villa La Roche
- LC13 – Fauteuil Wagon Fumoir
- 1912- La Maison Blanche, La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland
- 1931- Villa Savoye, Poissy, France
- 1954- Notre Dame du Haut, Ronchamp, France
- 1951- Palace of Assembly, Chandigarh, India
- 1952- The Cité Radieuse, Marseille, France
- 1959- The National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo
- 1967- Heidi Weber Pavilion—Center Le Corbusier, Zurich
Much of his best architectural work was completed between 1951 and 1965 in Chandigarh, India.
- L.A. Hostels in Sector 3 and 4
- Polytechnic for Men (now CCET) in Sector 26
- The State Library, Town Hall and the Post & Telegraph Building in Sector 17
- The Architects’ Office (now Le Corbusier Centre) in Sector 19
- The P.G.I.M.E.R. in Sector 12 (in collaboration with Jeet Malhotra, Aditya Prakash and H.S.Chopra),
- The Government Model Senior Secondary School, Sector-16
- John’s High School, Sector 26
- The Shops on V4 in Sector 11
- 1927- Salon d’Automne
- 1934- La Maison que Bord de l’Eau
- 1938- Le Refuge Tonneau
- 1967- Les Arcs
- 1993- Le Pavillon de thé de l’UNESCO.