As one of the top urban designers in Europe, Le Corbusier strove to have a profound influence on how modern societies designed for urban sprawl and how the lower classes were housed. Born as Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, Le Corbusier as he called himself later in life was a Swiss architect, designer, urbanist, writer, furniture designer, artist and is described as a pioneer of modern architecture or International style. Le Corbusier was born in 1887 just as the modern industrial movement was coming into play, influencing design and architecture worldwide from modern homes to furniture such as beds, chairs and more. By 1920, Le Corbusier has established himself as one of the top modern designers in the world in International style which influenced designs worldwide. Le Corbusier, who became a French citizen later in life, joined Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius as top designers in the world whose reputation preceded them as they focused on designing new buildings and furniture.
By creating simplistic form, lack or ornate design and the use of the new modern materials in furniture design among other skills, Le Corbusier embraced the mass production ideals that had actually swept the world as modern technology embraced 20th century manufacturing.
One key piece Le Corbusier designer was the Basculant chair, a stainless steel chair frame with a pure Italian leather or cowhide seat to sit on. He also designed the “Fauteuil grand confort, petit modèle,” French for “great comfort sofa small model.” Designed for the Salon D’Automne, the chair was made with leather upholstery and cushions over a bent metal tubular steel frame. The use of steel as a design material was prevalent in Le Corbusier’s designs and indeed are still used today as the framework of modern furniture, office chairs, desks and more. One of his more unique designs was the chaise longue, (like all his modern furniture designs, they were named in French despite his Swiss roots.) The “long chair” was comfortable and designed specifically to contour to the human body with cushioning under the head. Le Corbusier’s designs were always sleek-lined, simple and focused on form and function as traditional contemporary furniture should.
All of Le Corbusier’s furniture designs were typically made from the steel and leather. Influenced by modern technology, Le Corbusier was leading the modern furniture design world which spread out through Europe and America.
Today, Le Corbusier is memorialized by a private foundation and archive in France. The Maison La Roche, a museum in Paris is one piece of four properties owned by the Fondation Le Corbusier. The Maison Jeanneret, Le Corbusier’s apartment and a house in Corseaux are all owned by the Fondation.
Maison La Roche actually has an impressive collection in its museum, with over 8,000 drawings, artworks, plans and more by Le Corbusier as well as writings and photos of his which is likely the largest collection of Le Corbusier’s work in the world.