Switzerland, 1887 – 1965
“Chairs are architecture, sofas are bourgeois.” - Le Corbusier
Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, who chose to be known as Le Corbusier, was born in Switzerland in 1887. As an architect, urban planner, painter, writer, designer and theorist, he was active mostly in France.
In 1922, Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret opened an architectural studio in Paris, a partnership that would last until 1940. They began experimenting with furniture design after inviting the architect Charlotte Perriand to join the studio in 1928. The following year Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand presented several pieces of furniture at the Salon d’Automne, in an installation titled Equipment for the Home. The tubular steel furniture – including the famous LC4 Chaise Lounge and LC2 and LC3 seating collections – projected a new rationalist aesthetic that came to epitomize the International Style.
Le Corbusier combined a passion for classical Greek architecture and an attraction to the modern machine. He published his ideas in a book entitled, Vers une Architecture, in which he refers to the house as a “machine for living,” an industrial product that should include functional furniture or “equipment de l’habitation.” Though Le Corbusier’s illustrious career came to abrupt end in 1965 when he drowned while swimming in the Mediterranean Sea off Roquebrune-Cap-Martin in France, his influence is undisputed. In 1964, while Le Corbusier was still alive, Cassina, of Milan acquired the exclusive worldwide rights to manufacture his furniture designs. Today many copies exist, but Cassina is still the only manufacturer authorized by the Fondation Le Corbusier.