Le Corbusier Biography – Designing the world with Modernism


Le Corbusier 

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret was born on the 6th October 1887 and died on the 27th August 1965.

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret became known as Le Corbusier, and rose to International fame as an Architect, Designer, Painter, Urban Planner, Writer, and the most influential pioneer of Modern Furniture.

Without any formal education in Architecture Le Corbusier became a self taught and accomplished Architect and in 1912 he designed and built a new house for his parents.

This house led to further commissions to design and build imposing open plan houses with his trademark style of maximising space and natural light. 

Throughout the first World War Le Corbusier took a teaching post at his old school in La-Chaux-de-Fonds, and it was during this period he became very interested in the efficiencies of construction using reinforced concrete as a building material.

At the end of the war Le Corbusier moved to Paris and started an architectural practice with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret, a successful partnership that would last 21 years.

By 1930 Le Corbusier had established modernist architecture as a dominant European style and he continued with his unique minimalism style throughout the next two decades with numerous and varied commissions, from Social Housing to elaborate mansions, and Industrial Units to Government Office Buildings.

Le Corbusier’s  invited Charlotte Perriand to join his studio as a furniture designer with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret.

This was the start of a collaboration that would change the world of modern furniture design, little did they know, that their influence on modern designer furniture would still be as strong and popular today.

Le Corbusier was inspired by Marcel Breuer and Mies van der Rohe and proceeded designing and manufacturing furniture using tubular steel.

Tubular steel was originally used for bicycles and was perfect for Le Corbusier vision.

A sculptural technique of design incorporating curved steel tubes to define minimalistic-style  furniture.

The first results of the collaboration between Le Corbusier and Perriand were three pieces of furniture made with chrome-plated tubular steel frames; 

The LC4, Chaise Longue, an adjustable bed built in a shape designed for relaxation. Le Corbusier took the idea that the purest form and absolute function should result in the ultimate level of comfort. The functional awareness of the design is attributed in the stability of the frame, because at any angle of inclination the frame remains stable.

The LC3 Fauteuil Grand Confort is a minimalism – style club chair and sofa with a tubular steel frame with unconnected cushions suspended across elasticated straps. 

The Le Corbusier LC2 are armchairs and sofas with the trademark Le Corbusier steel frame supporting loose cushions placed on elasticated straps. The LC2 represented the new and modern conception of designer furniture in the Le Corbusier minimalism – style with the steel cage giving an element of industrial.

Today, the Le Corbusier LC2, LC3 and LC4 remain as the most iconic designer pieces ever created and all three clearly influenced both Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer.

However, they were very expensive, Le Corbusier had always intended that his furniture be affordable for everyone to enjoy. 

This was not the case as all early production models were very expensive, and decades later when the license to manufacture was purchased by Cassina, Le Corbusier Furniture Collections remained extremely expensive and only available to a minority.

Le Corbusier was praised and criticised in equal amounts, and he had many rivals, but in reality none had the same significant effect on the revolution of modern designer furniture or architecture as Le Corbusier.

His vision was inflexible, his determination autocratically firm and his arguments simplistic. 

His career spanned five decades, and he designed buildings in Europe, Japan, India, and North and South America, but for most people,  whether they be admirers or critics their lasting memory of Le Corbusier will be with the LC2 Furniture Collection.

Never in the history of modern designer furniture has there been a piece of furniture that has given so much artistic pleasure as the LC2, or inspired future generations of designers to aspire to the pure genius of Le Corbusier.