Charlotte Perriand

An Art of Living

A collection of original essays on the life and works of designer Charlotte Perriand

Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999) was one of the most innovative furniture and interior designers of the twentieth century. Although her work has long been recognized by furniture historians and Le Corbusier specialists, Perriand’s pioneering role has only recently become more widely appreciated. Her long career embraced much of the history of mod­ern design in France, including Art Deco, machine-age modernism, the organic rusticity of the 1930s and 1940s, serially produced metal and wood furniture of the 1950s and 1960s, and plastic and prefabricated bathroom and kitchen units of the 1970s. Perriand collaborated with Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret on the creation of their famous “LC” furniture and was responsible for the design of many of their major interiors. After 1938, she also worked frequently with Jean Prouvé, developing a series of innovative modular storage units and low-cost residential furnishings. Apart from these collaborations, Perriand had her own practice, which encompassed a wide range of projects and countries, from a chaise longue to a ski resort, from France to Japan, Vietnam, Congo, and Brazil.

Many of Perriand’s pieces are now seen as classics of modern furniture. However, she saw her designs not merely as elegant objects but as part of a larger social program to extend the pleasures of modern life (what she called “/’art de vivre”) to working- and middle-class people. Perriand sought to create a vibrant, accessible art that rejected bourgeois conven­tions while humanizing everyday environments. Her designs and her career also exemplify a radical rethinking of gender roles.

Charlotte Perriand: An Art of Living is the first book in English on this important figure in the history of twentieth-century design. Mary McLeod has assembled a collection of engaging and original essays that elucidate Perriand’s rich, diverse career and the ways in which it intersects with contemporary cultural currents, political movements, and changing social and economic conditions.