Ever since I started working at Peter Marino Architect I've been on a constant catch-up for all the art history and architecture knowledge that has slipped from my memory since graduating college. It is truly a magical place getting to work with such talented and well versed designers, not to mention the bonus factor that the office itself is a museum of incredible works of art, constantly on rotation. So yes, it's magical but it's also reminded me that just because the written exam is over, doesn't mean the life one is. And with that, I bring you my most recent google [stalk] search: Pierre Jeanneret.
I first took note and fell in love with Pierre Jeanneret's work when a client at PMA was looking for a desk chair and a "City of Chandigarh Desk Chair" was coming up for auction. Although the client didn't end up with the chair, I ended up obsessing over the piece and the designer behind it. This obsession quickly snowballed (which you'll see soon enough) but first, lets start with a little background
Pierre Jeanneret was born in Switzerland in 1896 and wasn't only a furniture designer, but first and foremost was an incredible architect. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Geneva and post graduation started work at his collaboration partner/cousin, Charles Edward Jeanneret - better known as Le Corbusier's- firm in Paris, 1921. The pair took the architecture and furniture world by storm, creating a concept known as experimental interiors. Pierre Jeanneret and Le Corbusier brought a new perspective to architecture by emphasizing order and harmony. The team was able to fill spaces with light and an overall feeling of airiness by utilizing glass and creating furniture pieces that had minimal, modern and clean lines.
Pierre Jeanneret designed pieces that weren't minimal in a uncomfortable, stark way, but instead employed in many of his pieces a strong diagonal. This throws the eye off and adds interest to what could be known as obvious. He also mixed that strong perspective with lighter materials, such as cane, velvet or wood. This mixture of minimal, modern, light and strong generated a framework for the perfect furniture balance. This was inherently different than the other furniture designers of the time who were utilizing chromes and metals within their pieces.
As I explained before, Pierre Jeanneret was not only an visionary furniture designer, he was also an incredible architect. He, along with Le Corbusier, published a manifesto entitled "Five Points Towards a New Architecture", which explained their perspective and theory of technical decisions involved in architecture. The pair worked on several projects together, most notably Villa Savoye, which was completed in 1931 (below).
After a brief (10 years) falling out between the cousins- stemming from their differences on political views at the time- they were able to mend the relationship for one incredible project. In 1951 Le Corbusier was commissioned by the Prime Minister of India to design it's new capital, Chandigarh. This project didn't just stop at architecture but is actually where a lot of Pierre Jeanneret's furniture pieces were created for.
The project grew to be too much for Le Corbusier and halfway through, he dropped out. This left the project in the hands of Pierre Jeanneret, who then became the project's chief architect and urban designer. Jeanneret not only saw the project to its completion in ___ but also created a lot of the city's furniture, as you can see above. Taking note of Le Corbusier's rational urban design, Pierre Jeanneret designed pieces that could stand the test of time, both aesthetically and the craftsmanship behind each piece.
Pierre Jeanneret lived out the rest of his working days in the city of Chandigarh until his death in 1967.
And there we go. Our first quick recap on one of my favorite designers. Now, for those of you who haven't studied any sort of interior design, you might be thinking, who is this Le Corbusier she is just glancing over? Well, that is a story/stalk for another day. Get excited.