The special collaboration between Le Corbusier (Charles-Édouard Jeanneret), Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret generated a series of innovative views on the function of design, the relationship between objects and architectural space, as well as the concept of inhabitation at the dawn of 20th century’s “new world”. In an original tribute organised by el greco gallery in collaboration with Cassina, materials and documents are brought together that reveal the fertile relationship between the three aforementioned leading creators.
Although the results of this collaboration are now part of the history of civilisation and can be witnessed through a plethora of physical applications and theoretical evaluations all around the world, the collaboration itself and its psychological materials — its dynamic, its tensions and its nuances — have only been studied fragmentarily and often through the lens of Le Corbusier’s genius.
Through an exhibition of furniture, design objects and archival material, as well as a series of talks, the 27th of June event in Athens will attempt to develop a different research approach, pivoting on the elements of what these three creators had in common — who as they noted themselves, had collaborated as the “three fingers of the same hand”. Starting from before the beginning of their collaboration in 1927 (when Charlotte Perriand joined Atelier Le Corbusier) and extending beyond 1937 (the year when she left the atelier but not the life of the Jeanneret cousins), this investigation attempts to illuminate the less-known aspects of a deep and tumultuous partnership: an organic relationship that changed constantly and also caused its members to change. At the same time this partnership gave its characteristics to design history, the adventure of the object, the transformations of form, the understanding of the natural world, and the anatomy of the very concept of progress.
Brigitte Bouvier, Director of Le Corbusier Foundation, and Barbara Lehmann, Head of Historical Archives at Cassina, will highlight three special documents of the relationship between Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret.
Panagiotis Tournikiotis, Professor at NTUA School of Architecture, in a talk titled “Seated Together, Charlotte Perriand and the Two Jeannerets”, will reference one of the most famous photos of the three creators, thus alluding to the space-defining act of their collaborations and the way it constitutes — all the way to this day — a seductive meeting point between the public and the private, the symbolic and the real.
Phoebe Giannisi, poet and Associate Professor of Architectural Design and Cultural Studies at University of Thessaly, will delve deeper into Perriand’s practice and thought with a talk titled “The Art of Living, or the Empty Room”.
Curator and art historian Nadja Argyropoulou and architect Vassiliki-Maria Plavou — responsible for the overall curation and design for this tribute respectively — will focus on the common and different ways in which the three creators developed ideas, experimented and communicated, selecting analytical practices and compositional processes that are extremely popular up to this day: photography, montage, physical objects, notes and public speech performances.
This attempt to explore a rather unique story with many still-unknown chapters also includes paintings by visual artist and professor of Architecture at Volos University, Maria Papadimitriou. Her Corbu series (2008) was created as a critical reflection on the monochrome palettes of modernistic “clarity”.
The convergence and differences in the thought and work of these three architects and designers — especially in relation to gender, political orientation and socio-philosophical references — are traits of the multiple changes and transfigurations within the complex history of modernism, up to this day.