Le Corbusier Chaise Lounges

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Although Le Corbusier chaise lounges are immediately recognizable as his work, they are differentiated by an aspect of open playfulness that takes a back seat in many of his other designs. When compared to some of his other furniture of the period, the curved form and round, yet angular, base of the chaise lounge is a strange contrast. The Le Corbusier chaise lounges are a primary example of an undeniable realization of function accompanied by an eye-pleasing arrangement of form.

Like many other pieces of Le Corbusier furniture, the chaise lounge was designed in the late 1920s, during a period of collaboration with his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret. Le Corbusier explored many ideas in form during this time, and experimented with many materials. Common to his experiments (and to those of Marcel Breuer) was tubular steel, a new material that offered cleanliness, flexibility, and the promise of mass production.

Le Corbusier chaise lounges take advantage of the tensile properties of tubular steel as a structural element. A curved pad sits on two arcing pieces of steel that intersect with a blackened steel base in both the front and the back of the lounge. The lounge offers comfort, relaxation, and modern form, and was famously designed as a "machine for relaxation."

Next to his other chairs of the period, including the female and male sofas, the chaise lounge's arresting curves appear unique and carefree. Another point of contrast is that the tubular steel detailing that encloses the female and male sofas is mostly for ornament, apparently serving little functional purpose. On the chaise lounge, the tubular steel serves to both balance the geometry of the human form and provide a springy cradle in which to relax.

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