Monday, September 26, 2011

Charlotte Perriand

As I searched through the list of designers, by images, for one that I did not know and who's work spoke to me. I discovered the chaise lounge chair of French designer Charlotte Perriond. This chaise has been used in countless design and fashion advertisements for many years. Although it has mostly been used as a prop, the chaise has never faded into the background. The chaise exemplifies simplicity, modernity, luxury, and most importantly comfort.

The B306 chaise lounge chair was designed in 1928!

Born in 1903, Charlotte Perriand went to the Ecole de l'Union Centrale des Arts Decorratifs, in 1920, to study the art of furniture design. After her schooling she went to Charles-Edoward Jeannet, better known as Le Corbusier, enquire about employment in his design firm in Paris. Where she was turned down because he believed women could only embroider. It wasn't until he saw Perriand's roof top bar, that he actually saw what she could do and offered her a job in his company.

Perriand is also credited with introducing the "machine age" to furniture design and therefore to the inside. The "machine age" refers to the movement in the early to mid 1900's that accentuated and emphasized the "industrialness" of the machinery of that era. Such as the developments, like the assembly line, needed for the mass production for the consumerism culture that was just in its infancy. Or like the chrome plating metal process that sped up the time and effort needed to give metal a mirror shine. This can clearly be seen in her use of chrome tubing in the B306 chaise.

After leaving Le Corbusier's studio in '37, Perriand traveled to Japan as an advisor to the Ministry of Trade and Industry. Once there, she helped Japan to develop products that would be more desirable for consumers in the West. As World War II broke out Perriand was kicked out of Japan, but was unable to return to France because of a naval blockade. Because of the blockade, Perriand ended up stuck in Vietnam.

The time spent in Japan and Vietnam was not in vain and later influenced her work after returning to France in '46. She adopted the Japanese technique of using screens to change the space of a room, and also the craftsmanship of the Vietnamese woodworking skills. She created book shelves that divided rooms and translated her chaise into wood.

Perriand also combined the two opposing attributes of her past works, the mass market ability of the "machine age" and the naturalness of wood. She created a wooden stacking chair that needed the cold, "machine age'" assembly line to make it affordable enough for the everyday person, yet contained the warmth of the wood. The chair needed machinery to bend the single piece of plywood into its shape, but it also displayed the proportions and the curves that it give it grace.

Perriand established herself as an architect by designing the United Nation's League of Nations building in Geneva and as a collaborator for the French Tourist Office in London. She also designed a series of ski resorts in her grandparents town of Savoie.

Perriand died at the ripe old age of 96 in 1999; a very accomplished, ground breaking, timeless, tireless, forward thinking, architect, designer, artist, woman.

1 comment:

Shannon Wright said...

Nice job, Victor. Anything in particular you might pull from this to lead you into your second blog theme? Or maybe you want to pursue something entirely unrelated?