The emergence of women designers and architects certainly came full force in the 20th century. We all know of Ray Eames, but right up there among the elite is Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999). (For a brief read on 9 prominent women designers, click the image link below.)
Even with just a casual knowledge of mid-century modern design, one might recognize a chair designed with the collaboration of Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, which you might associate entirely with Le Corbusier.
Charlotte Perriand was born in Paris in 1903 to a tailor and a seamstress. In high school, she was noticed by an art teacher and with encouragement from her mother enrolled in the Ecole de L’Union Centrale de Arts Decoratifs in 1920 where she studied furniture design. By 1925, she had projects installed at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decortifs et Industriels Modernes.
Perriand favored the industrial qualities of steel and metals, seen at the time as in the masculine purview. After she graduated, using aluminum and steel she created the Bar Sous Le Toit or Bar in the Attic in 1927 which became installed at the Salon d’-Automne.
Having been enthralled with the ideas of Le Corbusier, she appealed to work in his studio and was famously rejected with, “We don’t embroider cushions here!” Nevertheless, after Le Corbusier attended an exhibition of her work at the Salon d’-Automne, the offer of a job in furniture design came forth. During this period of collaboration with Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret, she produced three of the most iconic chairs of the century. Meant for different aspects of sitting and relaxing, these chairs are still very much available and reproduced in great numbers.
After leaving the Le Corbusier studio, she worked with Jean Prouve’ the notable French designer also influenced by the use of metals.
She much admired work with tubular steel and industrial materials.
As France surrendered during World War II and the Germans entered Paris, Perriand left to go to Japan and help in raising the standards of design for the Japanese to make products for western consumption.
For more information on Charlotte Perriand, click on the image link below.