The Swiss-born, French architect known as Le Corbusier, or Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris (1887 – 1965), was one of the most influential designers of early Modernism in the 1920s and 1930s. When he moved to France, his designs became solidified in physical forms and he strove to create a status for himself as an explorer of new possibilities and better living conditions for crowded cities, following the industrial booms. His creations began to open up new possibilities around the crossovers between art and functional designs, with some of his furniture presented in exhibitions in Paris. Although some of his larger projects never came into existence, he ensured that his legacy of drawings and books and architectural sketches were made accessible through the Foundation Le Corbusier in Paris.
The artist in Le Corbusier can be seen in the various paintings he did within the Cubist style that was carried through into some of his architecture. He studied at La-Chaux-de-Fonds Art School, where he trained under well-traveled artists and architects. Le Corbusier enjoyed traveling and came into contact with numerous other artists and innovators who were able to contribute to his creations. During WWI, Le Corbusier taught at his old school and worked on his various architectural theories, consolidating them into various books. After the war, he returned to Paris where he focused on painting. His furniture design seems to have run relatively along-side his other ventures. The art and design world has long acknowledged the extensive influences of Le Corbusier and he has been featured in numerous exhibitions and retrospectives, from The MOMA to the Pompidou and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Le Corbusier, Chaise Longue (circa 1928) H:79cm L:160cm W:58cm, ponyhide and blackened steel, France
The ponyhide chaise longue, designed by Le Corbusier in 1928 was first shown in Paris at the Salon d’Automne and was designed in collaboration with Charlotte Perriand and his own cousin, Pierre Jeanneret. The piece is typical of Le Corbusier’s modernist aesthetic, with strong solid shapes that are minimal and unfussy. The physical form of the piece recalls the French-style chaise longue but has been refined down to clean lines and simple parts that fit together to create the structure. The tubular steel components were an innovative creation for furniture design and have been carried through into many contemporary products. Le Corbusier is known for having been passionate about useful objects that would aid in living situations and the compact shape of the seat allows for relaxation within limited space. The essentialist design that is so characteristic of Le Corbusier is carried through into his rocker, which exemplifies effortless style and class.