Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, who chose to be known as Le Corbusier (French pronunciation: [lə kɔʁbyzje]; October 6, 1887 – August 27, 1965), was a Swiss-born French architect, designer, urbanist, writer and painter, famous for being one of the pioneers of what now is called Modern architecture or the International style. He was born in Switzerland and became a French citizen in 1930. His career spanned five decades, with his buildings constructed throughout central Europe, India, Russia, and one each in North and South America.
He was a pioneer in studies of modern high design and was dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities. Later commentators criticized Le Corbusier's plan to raze part of Paris and replace it with a grid of towers as soulless and arrogant, but his striking innovations have influenced every generation of architects that followed him.
Le Corbusier adopted his pseudonym in the 1920s, allegedly deriving it in part from the name of a distant ancestor, "Lecorbésier." However, it appears to have been an earlier (and somewhat unkind) nickname, which he simply decided to keep. It stems from the French for "the crow-like one". In the absence of a first name, some have suggested, pejoratively, that it indicates "a physical force as much as a human being," and brings to mind the French verb courber, to bend. He was awarded the Frank P. Brown Medal in 1961.
Corbusier said: "Chairs are architecture, sofas are bourgeois."
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.
The most famous of these chairs are the now-iconic LC-1, LC-2, LC-3, and LC-4, originally titled "Basculant" (LC-1), "Fauteuil grand confort, petit modèle" (LC-2, "great comfort sofa, small model"), "Fauteil grand confort, grand modèle" (LC-3, "great comfort sofa, large model"), and "Chaise longue" (LC-4, "Long chair", English: "chaise lounge"). 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.