Pierre Jeanneret Chairs
A visionary of modernist design, Swiss architect Pierre Jeanneret and his more famous cousin, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, also known as Le Corbusier, took the world of architecture by clean-lined, geometrical storm.
Graduating from the École des Beaux-Arts in Geneva in 1921, Pierre joined Le Corbusier’s Paris office and collaborated with his cousin on a variety of acclaimed architectural projects across Europe. Most notably, the pair were responsible for the architecture and design of the modernist Villa Savoye and Maison La Roche in Paris, as well as the groundbreaking apartment building of Immeuble Clarté in Geneva, Switzerland.
At odds over the politics of World War II, the cousins initially parted ways. Pierre joined the French resistance while Le Corbusier threw in his hat with the occupying forces of Vichy. For more than a decade the cousins refused to work together. They only reconciled in 1950, when Le Corbusier invited Pierre to join him on a project that would later become his crowning architectural achievement—the urban planning and design of the city of Chandigarh in India.
As their building plans and designs took shape, Pierre Jeanneret took it upon himself to design furniture to suit the offices and government outposts they were creating. Inspired by the materials readily available in and around Chandigarh, Pierre went on to pioneer a new style of furniture that valued functionality and modern minimalism over embellishment.
Primarily crafted from lightweight teak, cane, or sissoo wood, the raw, earthy, and unassuming color palette contrasted strongly with his use of nearly clinically straight lines and bold geometric silhouettes. The Pierre Jeanneret chair was one of his most revolutionary creations and paid homage to his dedication to minimalism, being the first functional chair to require no fasteners.
Unlike the gaudy, metallic, and embellished influences drawn on by other designers of the era, Pierre Jeanneret’s designs preferred to contrast shapes and silhouettes, pairing gentle curves with the delineation of sharp, clean outlines.
Halfway through the planning and construction of Chandigarh, Le Corbusier abandoned the project, leaving Pierre to oversee the conclusion of his life’s work and remain in Chandigarh until his death in 1967. Unaware of the pioneering nature of the furniture inhabiting their buildings, the residents of Chandigarh gradually did away with much of Pierre's original work.
Only as minimalism made its global debut in the 1990s did refurbishers and collectors realize the value of the simple, unassuming Pierre Jeanneret chairs hidden among other used furniture in scrapyards and thrift stores across India.
Today, the iconic Pierre Jeanneret kangaroo chair and Pierre Jeanneret lounge chair serve as centerpieces in homes around the world that value exclusivity and minimalist design. Although there are many replicas of Pierre Jeanneret's creations, the originals themselves are quite rare.
Owning a vintage Pierre Jeanneret dining chair or stool carries a form of simplistic nostalgia. It exudes an atmosphere of relaxation and functionality few designers have been able to embody in their furniture since.Read less