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Pierre Jeanneret

For most of his life Swiss architect and furniture designer Pierre Jeanneret (1896-1967) worked alongside of, and often in the shadow of, his cousin Le Corbusier. In 1926 they published their manifesto "Five Points Towards a New Architecture" which served as the backbone of their architectural aesthetic. The five points describe a building structure that includes a free plan without internal walls, a roof terrace, an expanse of continuous windows, columns to support the house and a simple fa├žade. Their follow-up building, the Villa Savoye (1928-31), was a representation of their outlined ideology. Practically an entire glass building with a primarily undivided interior, the elegance was established by the columns, which made it look as though it was floating above the ground.

In 1929 at the Paris Salon d'Automne he unveiled a set of modern furniture– including tubular steel chairs, stools and a set of modular steel storage units– designed in collaboration with Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand. The storage units lent themselves to the creation of an interior space unbroken by walls as they doubled in a standing form as open room dividers. The pieces from this show have since become icons of classical modern design. In the 1960s the Italian company Cassina reproduced the chaise longue and the Fauteuil Grand Confort armchair from the show as part of their 'Masters' series.

In the early 1950s Le Corbusier and Jeanneret started a project in Chandigarh, India designing and producing low cost buildings for the community. Le Corbusier left the project in the middle and Jeanneret became the Chief Architect and Urban Planning Designer. He stayed in Chandigarh for fifteen years and the city evolved into a landmark of modern architecture. His works there included the Punjab University Campus, several schools, houses and hostels.

During his time in India Jeanneret expanded his architectural aesthetic of finely cut machine edges and chrome steel lines, to include the symbols and structures of Eastern philosophy. At the Punjab University, the library he designed, Gandhi Bhawan, is a structure with three pinnacles symbolizing the ascension into the three worlds of Indian philosophy. Jeanneret became a beloved member of the community and in early 1999 there was an extensive photography exhibit of the work he and Le Corbusier did at Chandigarh. When he left in 1965 he told the people, "I am leaving my home and going to a foreign country." When he died in 1967 his ashes were scattered on Sukhna Lake in Chandigarh at his request.

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