I retired in April 2013 after 25 years as a librarian at the British Library specialising in inventions. This included running numerous workshops; writing books on inventions and a work blog; carrying out searches for clients; and one-to-one meetings with inventors. [more]


16 October 2013

The Le Corbusier chaise longue

Many architects have designed furniture. Presumably the idea is that having designed and hence controlled the exterior, they might as well do the same with the interior.

One of these is the Swiss architect Le Corbusier. He, with two others, applied for a French patent for his Chaise longue invention. Below is what it looks like.

It looks incredibly modern, yet dates back to 1929. The base is independent of the recliner, with curved tubular steel runners enabling the chair's position to be easily modified. It is still in production, and has become a design classic as it looks fantastic as well as carrying out its function. "Form follows function".

The three inventors are named on the patent as Le Corbusier, his cousin Pierre Jeanneret, and Charlotte Perriand. She was a designer who had asked to join Le Corbusier's Paris studio. He rejected her, saying that they did not embroider cushions. A few months later he had to apologise when he asked her to join him to head his furniture activities, as the same cousin had shown him a bar made of aluminium, glass and chrome at an exhibition. Perriand had renovated her apartment with that design and had then recreated it.

I must admit that I had never heard of the chair or of Perriand, but we had an example of the chair delivered to our new flat yesterday. It is very comfortable and looks elegant in its mock calfskin (the early models are available in canvas of calfskin). Here it is in our living room.

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