Day 199/365 of Steel – Charlotte Perriand

Charlotte Perriand (24 oktober 1903 – 27 oktober 1999) was a French interior architect, designer and photographer. A visionary and innovator, she was a member of the avant-garde cultural movement which, from the first decades of the twentieth century, brought about a profound change in the rituals of daily life with new aesthetic values.

Charlotte Perriand
Fig 1: Charlotte Perriand

Preferring to be known as an “interior architect”, and not as a furniture designer, she believed in the modernist notion of “form follows function”, and that furnishings and architecture needed to be developed in tandem, as a single entity, to create a cohesive, visually stimulating whole. Perriand’s works stand among the lasting classics of the modern movement.

Charlotte Perriand on the ‘chaise longue basculante, B306’
Fig 2: Charlotte Perriand on the ‘chaise longue basculante, B306’ 
Photo: © F.L.C./ADAGP, Paris 2019 © ADAGP, Paris 2019 © AChP

In an extensive and prolific professional career spanning eight decades, Perriand created a wealth of influential design pieces, including chaise lounges, armchairs, and tubular “equipment for living”,  lobbies for Air France in London and Tokyo, workers’ housing in the Sahara and ski resort interiors in the French Alps.

Working with Le Corbusier (1927-1937)
Based on sketch analysis of Le Corbusier’s “seven states of sitting”, Perriand created a series of tubular steel chairs, among them the B301 sling back chair, LC2 Grand Comfort, and the adjustable B306 Chaise Longue (a “machine for relaxing”).

“Derived from precedents such as bentwood lounge chairs and adjustable seats for invalids, Perriand’s chaise longue has become a synecdoche for Modernism: “We have built it with bicycle frame tubes and we covered it with a magnificent leather skin”, Le Corbusier asserted. “It is so light that it can be pushed with the foot, it can be moved by a child.”

Fig 4: LC4 Chaise Longe
source: Villa Savoye

Credited to the studio of Le Corbusier and branded with the LC Collection moniker, these ergonomically designed, minimalist masterworks are revered as 20th century design classics.

Perriand had dedicated herself to establishing a connection between art, industrial production and the commercial market. Yet despite her best efforts, she never succeeded in her endeavor to make furniture that was affordable en masse. She had hoped her tubular steel furniture would go down this route, but ultimately, discussions with manufacturers proved unfruitful.

About the Author:

Bruno Dursin – Managing Director at Believe in Steel. Bruno has more than 30 years of experience in promoting steel & steel solutions. His clients benefit from his extensive network within the building industry.

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