When Charles-Édouard Jeanneret first started unveiling his talent in Switzerland, he had no classical training, and he was more interested in art than in architecture. But over the course of his life, his worldview changed. Le Corbusier never put art behind him, and towards the end of his career, it was an essential tool in his process.
Le Corbusier was introduced to architecture while studying at art school, and it stuck. Before long, he was spending hours in libraries, reading everything he could about architecture. With a couple of houses behind him, including the impressive Maison Blanche that he built for his parents, the architect started teaching at his old art school during the First World War. He focused on theoretical architecture and was one of the first architects to philosophise over how new architectural inventions—more specifically, reinforced concrete—could be used in the real world.
This was the inspiration for the Dom-Ino house, which was meant to be easy to build and maintain by the inhabitants. It was designed for the countless people who would need homes after the First World War. Unfortunately, not many of these houses were made, but the concepts that le Corbusier used in terms of the architecture—namely the interior columns that meant none of the outer walls were load-bearing—became key parts of the architect’s later works.
The most famous example of le Corbusier’s unique style is located in Poissy just outside Paris, where you’ll find Villa Savoye. Villa Savoye is a big modernist villa raised above the ground on big columns, and it encapsulates le Corbusier’s five points of modern architecture—it stands on columns, it has free design of the ground plan as none of the walls are load-bearing, it has free design of the façade as you don’t need to take load-bearing walls into consideration, horizontal windows run along the building’s walls, and the roof is equipped with a garden.
Plan Voisin & Chandigarh
Between 1918 and 1922, le Corbusier didn’t build anything, instead focusing on developing Purism—a variant of Cubism, which he helped define alongside Amédée Ozenfant and Fernand Léger. It wasn’t until later that he got back into architecture from his studio in Paris, where he collaborated with Charlotte Perriand
, whose lamps are currently sold by Nemo Lighting.
It was at this time that le Corbusier started developing a more radical attitude towards architecture and truly started flirting with urban planning—for example, his Plan Voisin was a provocative suggestion for how to rebuild big parts of Paris. Corbusier wanted to knock down many of the city’s old streets and replace them with big, long, straight roads and gigantic skyscrapers.
Nothing ever came of it, but the essence of his concept lived on in different city projects headed by le Corbusier. The most impressive examples of le Corbusier’s work in India came into being when he was asked to design new capitals for the Punjab and Haryana states.
Because of an unfortunate line drawn on a map by the Brits when India gained its independence, the capital of Punjab was originally in Pakistan, so the state needed a new capital. Le Corbusier stepped in, and in collaboration with a big team, he created a new capital by the name of Chandigarh under the supervision of Jawaharlal Nehru, the first president of independent India.
Le Corbusier designed many complete buildings for the new Punjab and Haryana capitals, lamps included. There’s no doubt that the Swiss-French designer is best known for his architecture, but le Corbusier is also behind a series of first-rate lamps.Borne Béton
is one of the lamps that the architect designer in connection with another project, and it is currently sold by Nemo Lighting. As so much else in le Corbusier’s life, Borne Béton is made of concrete—and the simple body features no frills or decorative features. The lovely lamp perfectly encapsulates le Corbusier’s style, and it has gone on to be named by Kanye West as a major sources of inspiration.