The Makings of a Design Icon
Born in Switzerland as Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, Le Corbusier took to art and design at an early age. By age 18, he was building houses and, soon after, worked under pioneers Auguste Perret and Peter Behrens before adopting his pseudonym and ultimately becoming one of the most influential names in 20th-century modernist architecture and design.
A Machine For Living
Throughout his work, and especially in his early designs, Le Corbusier focused on functional, problem-solving design. He believed “a house is a machine for living in” and that machines offered the blueprints of successful design, often drawing inspiration from what he considered the ultra-efficient architecture of cars and airplanes. While this approach to design would lead to his revolutionary urban housing, it also cemented Le Corbusier as a controversial figure in the world of architecture and city planning.
As a first-generation member of the International school of architecture, Le Corbusier’s work displayed early forms of Minimalism, distinguished by rectilinear lines, open interiors and plane surfaces made from concrete and steel. His Villa Savoye in France, Weissenhof-Siedlung Houses in Germany and Unite d'Habitation in Berlin are among his most notable International style designs and paved the way for the insurgence of Brutalism in the 1950s.
The architect’s first foray into interior design came after establishing a studio with Charlotte Perriand and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret. He and Perriand worked with leather and polished steel tubes to design the sleek and proportional LC Collection, which would become his signature furniture line and include the iconic LC4 chaise lounge and LC2 armchair.
Lighting and Furniture Design
In addition to furniture, Le Corbusier designed lamps and other functional interiors to furnish his buildings. Always serving a purely functional purpose, his lighting embodied the same straightforward and industrial approach seen in his architectural designs. Le Corbusier first introduced the Projecteur Pendant in 1954 to illuminate the Chandigarh High Court of India. Today, the Projecteur series is reproduced as part of the NEMO Lighting Masters Collection using original sketches provided by Le Corbusier Foundation.