Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Le Corbusier

This month the Barbican is hosting an exhibition in celebration of one of the world’s most distinguished architect and designer, Le Corbusier.

Le Corbusier focused on harnessing the spirit of the machine age. His idea was to create simple, effective housing with bold linear forms and use new materials such as concrete, glass and metal. He had many plans to reform areas such as the Parisian slums of the time to create a better standard of living for the masses in tall and sometimes sprawling blocks of accommodation.

In 1927 Le Corbusier invited Charlotte Perriand, a young designer to collaborate with him at his studio in Paris. He had previously used ready-made furniture from companies such as Thonet to furnish his constructions. Thonet was best known for its simple bent wood forms, like this magazine rack (below) from Stephen Lazarus at Alfies.

Little known is the story of Perriand and how she was the real master behind the iconic furniture that came out of Le Corbusier’s studio.

When she first asked for a job at the age of 24 she was apparently met with the response; “we don’t embroider cushions here.” Ever the more determined she held a one woman exhibition of her work later in that year and shortly after received an invitation to become head of the ‘furniture equipment’ department for Le Corbusier, her hard work and determination had paid off.

For the rest of her life Perriand continued as an independent and internationally recognised designer and collaborated with many including Fedinand Leger and Erno Goldfinger, the renowned Bauhaus architect.

One of the items on display at the Barbican exhibition is a table designed by Perriand very similar to and from the same place as 'Free Form Table' (below) from Van der Meersch and Weston at Alfies.

Both the tables pictured are by Perriand from the 1940s/50s and 1970s respectively.

Van der Meersch & Weston on the second floor at Alfies have the concept of modern furniture design and indeed the International Style down to perfection. They are well worth a visit to understand the delightfulness clean linear furniture can have on the surrounding space. They have some truly fantastic pieces on display. You can also visit their own website here.

Decoratum in the basement of Alfies have a huge range of design furniture that relates to the concepts Le Corbusier practiced. The stunning pieces below are some that I found in their extensive showroom that reminded me of the furniture and architectural designs by both Le Corbusier and Perriand.

Both these images were taken from Decoratum's own extensive website:

To see more furniture from Alfies click here or why not spend a Saturday afternoon learning about some of these great designers who shaped our view of modern architecture and design as it is today.

1 comment:

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