Charlotte Perriand, architect and designer

Charlotte Perriand, architect and designer

Posted by Sophia Howell on

Charlotte Perriand was a French architect and designer who designed buildings, interiors and furniture.  She is one of the most acclaimed designer to come from the studio of Le Corbusier. Central to her designs was her belief that good design should be affordable, functional and ultimately should lead to better living.

La Bar sous le toit’, by Perriand 1927
Her breakthrough came with her futuristic Art Deco ‘La Bar sous le toit’ (The bar beneath the roof), designed for Salon d’Automne in 1927 that comprised of aluminium, chrome, glass and featured geometic patterns.

Basculant Chair No.B301 by Charlotte Perriand 1928
In 1927, Perriand created her most famous chair designs the B301 sling-back armchair for conversation, LC2 Grand Confort armchair for relaxation, the small revolving armchair the ‘Siége Pivotant and the B306 chaise longue for sleeping. These designs became icons of early modernist furniture.  

Grand Confort LC2 by Charlotte Perriand 1928
During the 1930s. she focussed on social projects including the Cité du Réfuge and the Pavillion Suisse at the Cité Universitaire and spent time developing lines of furniture that she hoped could be mass-produced.  She maintained ‘one can work honestly in any material’.

Chaise Longue LC4 B306 by Charlotte Perriand 1928
In 1950, she collaborated with Le Corbusier creating modular kitchen and interiors for his famous Unité d’Habitation apartment building in Marseille.

Modular kitchen in Unité d’Habitation Marseilles by Charlotte Perriand 1950

She produced bookshelves, desks and furniture including the famous Nuage bookcase, inspired by her time in Japan.  

Perriand with her Nuage bookcase, 1955 in Japan

She remodelled the Air France offices in London, Paris and Tokyo in 1957 and between 1967 and 1979 she designed three of ‘Les Arcs’ apartment buildings in the ski resort of Savoie.

Air France Travel Bureau by Charlotte Perriand 1960 
Arc 1600 is cantilevered into the hillside so each floor gets the same light and all apartments are the same size, with the same interiors and privacy.  Her open plan kitchens ensured no-one got stuck cooking whilst everyone else socialised. 

Ski apartments at Les Arc - Arc 1600 (top) and La Cascade (bottom) by Charlotte Perriand 1969- 1979

Perriand continued to work up until her death at the age of 96 in 1999. The Design Museum in London is holding an exhibition of her work 'Charlotte Perriand: The Modern Life' opens Saturday 19th June 2021.

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