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Le Corbusier

Get to Know Your Modern Classic Furniture Designers: Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier (1887-1965) was an influential Swiss Architect and city planner. His designs combined the functionalism of the modern movement with a much more bold expressionism. He had provocative ideas and he created truly revolutionary pieces that relied largely on the refined handling of steel.

Le Corbusier Furniture 

Le Corbusier furniture reflects his taste for sculptural forms and asceticism. He was the first architect to really use rough-case concrete, and he played a large part in the development of tubular steel furniture.

Some of his most popular and enduring designs include:

View our complete collection of Le Corbusier modern classic furniture to see more of his iconic designs.

The History Behind the Legend

Le Corbusier was born Charles Edouard Jeannerct on October 6, 1887, in LaChaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. He did not adopt his pseudonym Le Corbusier until 1920. He was the second son of Edouard Jeanneret, a dial painter in the town's renowned watch industry, and Madame Jeannerct-Perrct, a musician and piano teacher. 

His parents, however, were not the only creative and artistic influences to touch his early years. Charles L'Eplattenier, a teacher at the local art school, played a huge part in his education. L'Eplattenier introduced him to the wonderful world of painting and also insisted that he study architecture.

In 1907 Le Corbusier completed his first house, Villa Pallet, and then spent some time traveling before designing a series of villas in Switzerland. He moved to Paris at the end of the war to work on concrete structures under government contracts, as well as run a small brick manufacturer. During this time he also dedicated a great deal of his efforts to painting.

Purism, Tubular Steel Furniture and a Shift in Focus

During his career he played a large part in the creation of the art movement called Purism, which was characterized by the use of simple geometric forms and objects produced by machine. The influences of this movement are clearly seen in Le Corbusier furniture

Le Corbusier formed an architectural partnership with his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret, and the villas they created garnered them a level of status and skill that earned them a spot in the League of Nations. They were eventually eliminated, but their presence led to the formation of CIAM (Congress Intemationaux d'Architecture Modeme) an organization concerned with architecture’s relation to economic and political spheres. Le Corbusier was a charter member.

Le Corbusier also developed many ideas about architecture throughout his career and published them in a book, Vers une Architecture. He also co-created the system of furniture that shaped the majority of his designs: tubular steel furniture.

During the 1920's and 30's, Le Corbusier concentrated most of his efforts on architecture, and in 1930 he married Yvonne Gallis, a model and couturier from Monaco. Then in the 1950's he shifted his attention towards more expressive forms that delved into the sculptural potential of concrete. Over the decades his work has included: mass housing blocks, public buildings and individual villas, all of which were conceived with what he called the "engineer's aesthetic."

His wife had died in 1957, a blow from which some say he never totally recovered, and in 1965 he died of a heart attack while swimming in the Mediterranean.


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