Sitting pretty

Chaise lounge. University of Auckland Architecture and Planning Library

Chaise lounge. University of Auckland Architecture and Planning Library

This is the first instalment in our series exploring architects as designers. Specifically we are looking at the architects who designed the various chairs in situ at the Architecture and Planning Library.

Our series begins with Le Corbusier, Jeanneret & Perriand and their iconic 1928 chaise lounge.

Le Corbusier (Charles- Edouard Jeanneret) was already well established as a modernist architect and, by 1928, had been in practice with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret for several years. By 1927 steel furniture from Breuer and Mies Van der Rohe was already available – to stay current Le Corbusier needed to create prototypes that worked with modernist thinking.

A proponent of mass-production (and a critic of the failure of industry to comply), Le Corbusier was looking to develop “new equipment” that fulfilled necessary functions with the efficiencies gained through industrialisation.

Accordingly, his philosophy for furniture was that it was “equipment for living” – functional, efficient and standardised.1

Charlotte Perriand joined Le Corbusier’s Atelier after he viewed her submission to the 1927 Salon d’automne. Her work was reflective of Art Deco aesthetics, influenced with shiny sheet metal and steel tube (materials of new technologies) and it proved she was moving ahead of typically conservative approaches to interiors and furniture.2

She provided a modern industrial aesthetic that could advance and be incorporated into already existing working drawings of Le Corbusier.

Le Corbusier stated that the chair was a machine for sitting but he stressed that these machines should also allow for different body positions and in 1928 collaboration by the trio resulted in a series of three chairs:

  • The Siège à Dossier Basculant (chair with a swinging back)
  • The Fauteuil Grand Confort (easy chair)
  • The Chaise Lounge Basculant

Of these three only two were compliant with mass-production methods, the Fauteuil Grand Confort and the Chaise Lounge Basculant. The chaise lounge has remained in production essentially since Perriand commissioned the creation of its prototype3 in 1928 and notably Italian manufacturers Cassina, the only authorised manufacturer, celebrated 50 years of continuous production of the LC Series chaise lounge in 2015.4

The Architecture and Planning Library chaise lounge was gifted to the Library by the “Go to Kiwi” student congress (circa 1983).

It is currently awaiting occupants and inspiring a display…

Architecture Library display

Architecture and Planning Library display

Fiona Lamont, Library Assistant, Architecture and Planning Library

References

1 Mary McLeod and Roger Aujame, Charlotte Perriand: An Art of Living (New York: H.N. Abrams; Architectural League of New York 2003).

2 Le Corbusier, Le Corbusier: Furniture and Interiors 1905-1965, ed. Charlotte Perriand and others (Paris: Fondation Le Corbusier; Zürich: Scheidegger & Spiess 2012).

3 Mary McLeod and Roger Aujame, Charlotte Perriand: An Art of Living (New York: H.N. Abrams; Architectural League of New York 2003).

4 50 Anni Della Serie LC. Domus, 987 (2015), p.IV.

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