Le Corbusier

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Le Corbusier, though never himself a member of the Bauhaus, is often grouped with key members of the school (such as Gropius and Mies Van Der Rohe) when describing his style of design and architecture. His style is a brand of modernism that is sometimes called "The International Style" due to its complex heritage and multi-national base of key practitioners. Le Corbusier's designs are some of the most stark and minimal designs of any to emerge from the International Style movement.

Though perhaps most well-known for a list of key buildings and visionary city planning ideas, Le Corbusier was, like many modern architects, also an accomplished furniture designer. Part of what attracted architects to furniture design is the idea that the "house is a machine for living," one of Le Corbusier's most influential statements (made in 1918). The idea that a house should be, at heart, convenient and functional, aiding humans in the act of living, was one of the key concepts of both the early International Style and the Bauhaus.

Comparing Le Corbusier's Furniture and Building Designs

Like his buildings, Le Corbusier's furniture designs combine geometric elements with pure functionalism. His early designs, however, such as those for stools and chaise lounges, featured elegant planes and formidable shapes, without the arguably heavy rigidity of many of his buildings. His sofas and armchairs were boxy yet welcoming, mostly featuring leather cushions held aloft by slim steel beams.

These designs are echoed in some of his early buildings, such as the Villa Savoye, outside of Paris. The pillars supporting two wings of the upper level of the building are extremely reminiscent of some of his armchair designs. The Notre Dame du Haut, also in France, with its billowing top and angular echoes of the surrounding mountains, recalls the construction of his '20s and '30s era furniture as well.


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