Le Corbusier: The Rock Star of Furniture Design

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LC-4 chaise lounge
LC-4 chaise loungeFrom Terence Conran’s Decorating with Plants, 1986, by Susan Conder

We revel in the perennially popular work of the enfant terrible of design, Le Corbusier

Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, or simply Le Corbusier (1887-1965), was a rock star. Among the likes of Marcel Breuer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier was one of the leading architects of the early 20th century Modernist movement. He thought of homes as machines for living. He was a teacher, a sculptor, a painter and an architect. He was an urban planner and designed entire cities in India. He changed his name to Le Corbusier and did nude sketches of Josephine Baker. The man married a fashion model and later, after she died, carried around one of her vertebra in his pocket. I mean, this was a cool guy. 

In 1928 he teamed up with a couple of pals and began experimenting with furniture design.  By 1930 he, along with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret and fellow architect Charlotte Perriand, had launched a line of furniture under the Le Corbusier name. The line has since been expanded, but the distinct chrome plated tubular steel frames of the original LC series are iconic. The LC4 lounge is one of the most recognizable chairs around and the LC-2 and LC-3 'great comfort sofas' have become ubiquitous with modern design. The LC line is still produced by Cassina and the designs are essentially the same as they have been since 1928. 

It's hard to believe that these pieces were imagined and created almost 90 years ago. Seeing how well suited they are to interiors from the 1970s and 80s, you'd think they were of that era. But they also sit right at home in the 90s. Or today. It's inspiring how furniture has the ability to transcend modern trends. Le Corbusier was a man ahead of his time and these pictures celebrate the genius that he was. They also prove that successful design is truly timeless. 

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