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Le Corbusier


Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, who was better known as Le Corbusier (October 6, 1887 – August 27, 1965), was a Swiss-French architect, designer, painter, urban planner, writer, and one of the pioneers of what is now called modern architecture. He was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in 1930. His career spanned five decades, with his buildings constructed throughout Europe, India, and America.
 
Dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities, Le Corbusier was influential in urban planning, and was a founding member of the Congrès international d'architecture moderne (CIAM). Corbusier prepared the master plan for the planned city of Chandigarh in India, and contributed specific designs for several buildings there.

 
Life & Education
He was born as Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris in La Chaux-de-Fonds, a small city in Neuchâtel canton in north-western Switzerland, in the Jura mountains and attended a kindergarten that used Fröbelian methods.Young Jeanneret was attracted to the visual arts and studied at the La-Chaux-de-Fonds Art School under Charles L'Eplattenier, who had studied in Budapest and Paris. His architecture teacher in the Art School was the architect René Chapallaz, who had a large influence on Le Corbusier's earliest house designs.Later in 1911, he journeyed to the Balkans and visited Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, and Greece.
 
During World War I, Le Corbusier taught at his old school in La-Chaux-de-Fonds. During these four years in Switzerland, he worked on theoretical architectural studies using modern techniques. This model proposed an open floor plan consisting of concrete slabs supported by a minimal number of thin reinforced concrete columns around the edges, with a stairway providing access to each level on one side of the floor plan.
 
In 1918, Le Corbusier met the Cubist painter Amédée Ozenfant, in whom he recognised a kindred spirit. Ozenfant encouraged him to paint, and the two began a period of collaboration. Rejecting Cubism as irrational and "romantic", the pair jointly published their manifesto, Après le cubisme and established a new artistic movement, Purism. Ozenfant and Le Corbusier established the Purist journal L'Esprit nouveau. He was good friends with the Cubist artist Fernand Léger.
 
While returning in 1929 from South America to Europe, Le Corbusier met entertainer and actress Josephine Baker on board the ocean liner Lutétia. Le Corbusier made several nude sketches of Baker. Soon after his return to France, Le Corbusier married Yvonne Gallis, a dressmaker and fashion model. She died in 1957. Le Corbusier also had a long extramarital affair with Swedish-American heiress Marguerite Tjader Harris.
 
Against his doctor's orders, on August 27, 1965, Le Corbusier went for a swim in the Mediterranean Sea at Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, France. His body was found by bathers and he was pronounced dead at 11 a.m. It was assumed that he may have suffered a heart attack. His funeral took place in the courtyard of the Louvre Palace on September 1, 1965, under the direction of writer and thinker André Malraux, who was at the time France's Minister of Culture. He was buried alongside his wife in the grave he had designated at Roquebrune.
 
Le Corbusier's death had a strong impact on the cultural and political world. Tributes poured in from around the world, even from some of Le Corbusier's strongest artistic critics. Painter Salvador Dalí recognised his importance and sent a floral tribute. United States President Lyndon B. Johnson said, "His influence was universal and his works are invested with a permanent quality possessed by those of very few artists in our history." The Soviet Union added, "Modern architecture has lost its greatest master". While his funeral occurred in Paris, Japanese TV channels broadcast his Museum in Tokyo in what was at the time a unique media homage.
 
His grave is in the cemetery above Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, between Menton and Monaco in southern France.
 
 
Furniture Design
Le Corbusier began experimenting with furniture design in 1928 after inviting the architect, Charlotte Perriand, to join his studio. His cousin, Pierre Jeanneret, also collaborated on many of the designs. Before the arrival of Perriand, Le Corbusier relied on ready-made furniture to furnish his projects, such as the simple pieces manufactured by Thonet, the company that manufactured his designs in the 1930s.
 
In 1928, Le Corbusier and Perriand began to put the expectations for furniture Le Corbusier outlined in his 1925 book L'Art Décoratif d'aujourd'hui into practice. In the book he defined three different furniture types: type-needs, type-furniture, and human-limb objects. He defined human-limb objects as: "Extensions of our limbs and adapted to human functions that are type-needs and type-functions, therefore type-objects and type-furniture. The human-limb object is a docile servant. A good servant is discreet and self-effacing in order to leave his master free. Certainly, works of art are tools, beautiful tools. And long live the good taste manifested by choice, subtlety, proportion, and harmony".
 
The first results of the collaboration were three chrome-plated tubular steel chairs designed for two of his projects, The Maison la Roche in Paris and a pavilion for Barbara and Henry Church. The line of furniture was expanded for Le Corbusier's 1929 Salon d'Automne installation, 'Equipment for the Home'.
 
These chairs included the LC-1, LC-2, LC-3, LC-4 and LC-7, originally entitled "Basculant" (LC-1), "Fauteuil grand confort, petit modèle" (LC-2, "great comfort sofa, small model"), "Fauteuil grand confort, grand modèle" (LC-3, "great comfort sofa, large model"), and "Chaise longue" (LC-4, "Long chair"). The LC-2 and LC-3 are more colloquially referred to as the petit confort and grand confort (abbreviation of full title, and due to respective sizes). The LC-2 (and similar LC-3) have been featured in a variety of media, notably the Maxell "blown away" advertisement.
 
In the year 1964, while Le Corbusier was still alive, Cassina S.p.A. of Milan acquired the exclusive worldwide rights to manufacture his furniture designs. Today many copies exist, but Cassina is still the only manufacturer authorized by the Fondation Le Corbusier; see US page. Today, some productions of the original furniture designs are considered very valuable to art collectors and are often sold in major auction houses.
 
Influence
Le Corbusier was at his most influential in the sphere of urban planning, and was a founding member of the Congrès International d'Architecture Moderne (CIAM). One of the first to realize how the automobile would change human agglomerations, Le Corbusier described the city of the future as consisting of large apartment buildings isolated in a park-like setting on pilotis. Le Corbusier's theories were adopted by the builders of public housing in Europe and the United States. In Great Britain urban planners turned to Le Corbusier's "Cities in the Sky" as a cheaper method of providing public housing from the late 1950s. For the design of the buildings themselves, Le Corbusier criticized any effort at ornamentation. The large spartan structures in cities, but not 'of' cities, have been widely criticized for being boring and unfriendly to pedestrians.
 
Throughout the years, many architects worked for Le Corbusier in his studio, and a number of them became notable in their own right, including painter-architect Nadir Afonso, who absorbed Le Corbusier's ideas into his own aesthetics theory. Lúcio Costa's city plan of Brasília and the industrial city of Zlín planned by František Lydie Gahura in the Czech Republic are notable plans based on his ideas, while the architect himself produced the plan for Chandigarh in India. Le Corbusier's thinking also had profound effects on the philosophy of city planning and architecture in the Soviet Union, particularly in the Constructivist era.
 
Le Corbusier was heavily influenced by problems he saw in industrial cities at the turn of the 20th century. He thought that industrial housing techniques led to crowding, dirtiness, and a lack of a moral landscape. He was a leader of the modernist movement to create better living conditions and a better society through housing concepts. Ebenezer Howard's Garden Cities of Tomorrow heavily influenced Le Corbusier and his contemporaries.
 
Le Corbusier also harmonized and lent credence to the idea of space as a set of destinations which mankind moved between, more or less continuously. He was therefore able to give credence and credibility to the automobile (as a transporter); and most importantly to freeways in urban spaces. His philosophies were useful to urban real estate development interests in the American Post World War II period because they justified and lent architectural and intellectual support to the desire to destroy traditional urban space for high density high profit urban concentration, both commercial and residential. Le Corbusier's ideas also sanctioned further destruction of traditional urban spaces to build freeways that connected this new urbanism to low density, low cost (and highly profitable), suburban and rural locales which were free to be developed as middle class single-family (dormitory) housing.
 
Le Corbusier had a great influence on architects and urbanists all the world. In the United States, Shadrach Woods; in Spain, Francisco Javier Sáenz de Oiza; in Brazil, Oscar Niemeyer; In Mexico, Mario Pani Darqui; in Chile, Roberto Matta; in Argentina, Antoni Bonet i Castellana (a Catalan exile), Juan Kurchan, Jorge Ferrari Hardoy, Amancio Williams, and Clorindo Testa in his first era; in Uruguay, the professors Justino Serralta and Carlos Gómez Gavazzo; in Colombia, Germán Samper Gnecco, Rogelio Salmona, and Dicken Castro; in Peru, Abel Hurtado and José Carlos Ortecho.
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MLF LC1 Basculant Sling Chair