Le Corbusier (1887-1965)

b. Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, Swiss architect and designer, active Paris. Arguably the most important architect of the twentieth century.


Le Corbusier began his architectural training in 1908 with August Perret, a pioneer of reinforced concrete construction, and then with Peter Behrens in Berlin, where his colleagues included Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius. In 1918 he settled in Paris, beginning an association with the painter Amédée Ozenfant.

As a rebuke to Cubism, they founded the Purist movement which advocated an art and architecture devoid of decoration, stressing instead order and logic. In 1923, Le Corbusier published a book entitled Towards a New Architecture, in which he famously declared "A house is a machine for living in."

His love of the machine aesthetic was manifest in his early buildings, including the Villa Savoye (1919), and Pavilion de l'Esprit Noveau, designed for the 1925 Paris Exhibition. Around this time, Le Corbusier and others banded together to form the Union des Artistes Modernes in reaction to what they considered the excesses of Art Deco.

During the late 1920´s, Le Corbusier began to design furniture with Charlotte Perriand, all of which was manufactured by Thonet. Together, they developed the tubular steel and leather LC3 armchair (1928), the LCT chair (1928), the LC6 table (1928), and the LCI chair (1928), upholstered in pony hide. The pieces they designed are among the most recognizable examples of twentieth century furniture.

Le Corbusier was also a prolific painter and sculptor. His later work ¬ó especially the chapel at Ronchamp ¬ó reflects a more organic aesthetic, sharply contrasting with his early precision. His writings and projects were widely published, and shaped architecture and design on a global scale.

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