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Home About Designers Le Corbusier
Le Corbusier PDF Print E-mail
* 6th of October 1887 in La Chaux-de-Fonds in the Swiss canton Neuenburg
† 27th of August 1965 in Roquebrune, Cap Martin,
Côte d’Azur



Le Corbusier is an urban planner, painter, sculptor, writer, and modern furniture designer.
Le Corbusier is one of the most important and influential architects of the 20th century; however, his ideas also initiated controversies which are still debatably today.
In the 1920’s, he adopts his alias “Le Corbusier” in accordance with his grandfather’s name. One of his personal trade marks is his thick, round and black framed glasses.
On the 6th of October in 1887, Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris is born in La Chaux-de-Fondsin in the Swiss canton Neuenburg.
With already thirteen years, he starts his training as painter, engraver and goldsmith at the school of arts in his hometown.
From 1904, he also studies architecture. He makes history as one of the leading architects in the 20th century. The foundations of Le Corbusier's aesthetics are based on his extensive travels and the work he does for leading architecture practices.
In 1910 and 1911, he works in Berlin for one of the founders of the “Deutscher Werkbund” (German Work Federation) and one of the most representatives of the modern industry design, the distinguished German architect Peter Behrens. There, he comes to know also Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius, founders of the Bauhaus. Le Corbusier concentrates in buildings with steel and reinforced concrete.
In Vienna during 1907, Le Corbusier meets architect and designer Josef Hoffmann, one of the leaders of the “Vienna Secession” which objects to the prevailing conservatism of the “Vienna House of Artists” with its traditional orientation. The famous painter Gustav Klimt is the Vienna Secession’s first president.
In march of 1908, he travels for his first time to Paris and visits the most important new architects of the city; and, works during fifteen months until 1909 in the architecture practice of Auguste Perret, the pioneer of constructions with reinforced concrete.
In 1910, he travels to Germany by order of his school, École d’Art, to study the movements of art of the “Deutscher Werkbund” (German Work Federation) and the Deutsche Werkstätten (German Workshops). There he meets the architect Frank Lloyd Wrights, who is beginning to be known for his designs in Europe.
In 1914, he becomes head of department at the École d’Art. Together with the engineer, Max du Bois, he develops the modular system “Dom-ino” used for industrial series production of houses in skeleton concrete structure of prefabricated parts.
Le Corbusier moves to Paris in 1917 and paints his first oil paintings, most of them being still life. His paintings, emphasising clear forms and structures, correspond to his architecture which is based on elemental geometric forms.
Three years later, in 1920, he edits the journal “L'Esprit Nouveau” in which he formulates his ideas of modern architecture.
In 1922, Le Corbusier founds an architecture practice in Paris with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret. In the 1920’s, they realize many residential houses with her developed “Dom-ino System”.
Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret attend on the competition for the Völkerbund Palace in Geneva in 1927. Their concept gets the highest voting; however, it is declined because they don’t use the requested Indian drawing for this competition even though it is the only concept which is in the pretended budget frame. Are there any parallels to recent decisions in politics and economy in our time?
In 1929, Le Corbusier travels for the first time to South America, and reads on several universities about architecture. In Sao Paolo, he attends a show of Josephine Baker and follows her on board of the ship Giulio Cesare, where she sings for him and he paints her naked in his cabin. “Inspired” after that affair, he demands “new buildings in the spirit of her dancing”. Based on this inspiring event, he designs the “Villa Savoye”. The villa is located in Possy-sur-Seine, a little suburb of Paris and belongs to the most important residential house of the Modern Movement. Oh yes, he is creative, isn’t he?
At the “Salon of Autumn”, Le Corbusier, his cousin Pierre Jeanneret and the architect and designer Charlotte Perriand (1909-1999) exhibit their common designs of furniture under the legendary name LC1 till LC 10. Charlotte Perriand’s cooperation in the studio of Le Corbusier is evident in all pieces of furniture. Perriand lends the sometimes cold rationalism of the famous architect Le Corbusier, a human dimension. In her projects she gives basic articles of daily life a new aesthetic value.
In September 1930, Le Corbusier adopts the French nationality and marries in December the mannequin Yvonne Gallis from Monaco.
In 1934, Le Corbusier receives the honorary doctorate degree in applied mathematics from the University of Zurich. In 1955, he receives further honorary doctorate degrees from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology “ETH”. In 1937, he becomes a knight, in 1952 a commander, and in 1963 an officer in the French Legion of Honour. In 1959, he gets an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Cambridge, in 1961 from the University of Colombia, and in 1963 from the Geneva University. In 1968, he becomes an honorary member of the American Institute of Architects, AIA.
In 1942, Le Corbusier applies a similar interdisciplinary approach to developing “Modulor”, a system of proportion based on the male figure and the Golden Mean used to determine the proportions of units in architecture and technology. It is also the base of Le Corbusier's work in furniture design.
Many of his pieces of furniture have become design classics. In addition to individual buildings, such as the Weißenhof Settllement in Stuttgart (1927) and Villa Savoye in Poissy (1929-31), Le Corbusier is interested in mass-produced urban housing and town planning. He disseminates his ideas in a host of theoretical writings on architecture as well as the Congrès Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne and the Athens Charter published in 1941, in which Le Corbusier lays out guidelines for urban planning. One of Le Corbusier's most important post-war housing complexes is Unité d'Habitation in Marseilles as well as his pilgrimage chapel Notre-Dame-du-Haut in Ronchamps being perhaps his most radical work.
Le Corbusier dies on the 27th of August in 1965 from a heart attack while swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, a few steps from his holiday house “La Cabanon” and only a few steps away from Eileen Gray’s house “E1027” in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Côte d’Azur, where he is buried.
Le Corbusier’s most famous furniture design is probably the Chaiselounge LC4, being one of the most photographed objects in the world of design.
To his further bestsellers are added the chair Basculant LC1, the LC 2 series with the Cubus Armchair LC 2, the Two Seat Sofa LC 2, the Three Seat Sofa LC 2, the LC 3 series with the Armchair LC 3, the Two Seat Sofa LC 3, the Three Seat Sofa LC 3, the series Grand Confort with the Armchair Grand Confort, the Two Seat Sofa Grand Confort and the Three Seat Sofa Grand Confort.
All these classics come from the mist of Le Corbusier’s creative life between the years of 1928 and 1929, as well as other pieces such as the Turning Chair LC 7, the Turning Stool LC 8, the Dining Tables LC 6 and LC10 and the Coffee Table LC 10 along with the Side Table LC 10.