Charles-Édouard Jeanneret – or Le Corbusier as his is most known – studied engraving and ornamental metalwork at the École d’Art in Chaux-de-Fonds in 1902 before continuing his education on Charles L’Eplattenier’s Cours supérieur until 1907. In 1906/07 Jeanneret completed his first architectural project, The Villa Fallet in La Chaux-de-Fonds whereafter he went on a study trip to Vienna (where he met Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser and Gustav Klimt), Paris (where he worked in the Atelier Auguste Perret) and Berlin (as an assistant to architect and industrial designer Peter Behrens). From 1911 Jeanneret also traveled through the Balkans and also visited Istanbul, Athens and Naples. Back in Switzerland, Jeanneret taught architecture and interior design at École d’Art in La Chaux-de-Fonds while also working in the same fields.
In 1917 Jeanneret moved to Paris where he turned his attention towards industrial productions. During the late 1910’s and early 20’s Jeanneret published the manifesto Aprés le cubism (1918) together with painter Amédée Ozenfant, Paul Dermée and the magazine L’Éspirit Nouveau (1920-25). During the same period Jeanneret adopted the pseudonym Le Corbusier.
In 1923 Le Corbusier published the book and manifest Vers une architecture, where he presented ideas and theories for the construction of a new type of architecture, adopted for a modern society, praising the industrialization and standardization. This aesthetic philosophy was called purism and was constructed on the idea that all compositions should be based on the geometrical primary forms.
In 1922 Le Corbusier founded an architectural office together with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret in Paris. Three years later he designed the Pavillon de L’Éspirit Nouveau at the Paris world exhibitions, which has later been regarded as a defining example of purist interior design. In 1927 Le Corbusier designed two houses for the Deutscher Werkbund in Stuttgart and published his Five Points Towards a New Architecture.
Le Corbusier was one of the co-founders of the Congrés Internationaux D’architecture Moderne (CIAM) while also designed his first tubular steel furniture together with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret and Charlotte Perriand. Of these the armchair B 301 / Fauteuil à dossier basculant and B 306 Chaise longue à position variable are two of the most prolific.
From 1942-50 Le Corbusier developed the Modulor system for proportioning buildings and interiors, which he used extensively on his post-war work such as the apartment buildings Unité d’habitation in Marseille (1947-52) and similar in Berlin and Nantes (1957) and Briey-la-Fôret (1962). In 1952 he designed a line of wooden furniture for a holiday cabin in Roquebrune.
Le Corbusier’s last project was also a unique opportunity translate his visions on a large scale, the newly founded capital city of Chandigarh in India, on which he worked on until his death in 1965. The previous year Italian manufacturer Cassina had bought the production rights to his furniture design.
In 2016, 17 of Le Corbusier’s buildings in seven countries were put on the UNESCO World heritage list. His furniture is part of museum collections all over the world, and in 1967 the Centre Le Corbusier, with an exhibition of his life and architecture opened in Zürich.