Undoubtedly one of the most iconic pieces of furniture of the Twentieth Century, the Le Corbusier LC4 chaise longue was designed in 1928. This design classic still looks at home in the futuristic architectural creations of Zaha Hadid or equally as a piece of artwork in a Georgian terrace in Central London. In this wall art scenario it works perfectly as an embossed panel giving a sculptural quality to something designed to be ultimately functional.
If Le Corbusier designed “machines for living in”, this is surely a “machine for relaxing in”. Based on part of the arc of a circle, the body of the LC4 rotates on cylindrical bars that run across the width of the frame, meaning the angle of recline can be changed depending on need.
The padded leather and exposed metal frame were designed with a very specific purpose – to “serve” our limbs by providing the ultimate in comfort and good design. This interest in furniture design – particularly chairs – has been taken up by many architects and students alike. Le Corbusier explained thus: “Chairs are architecture, sofas are bourgeois” – maybe suggesting that the self-containment and focussed nature of a chair mirrored that of a “designed for purpose” space, rather than a spot to lounge/sit/lie etc
Le Corbusier used the golden ratio in his Modulor system for the scale of architectural proportion. He saw this system as a continuation of the long tradition of Vitruvius and Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man”. Le Corbusier was inspired by the sliding constant of sound and his Modulor system attempted to meld the golden ratio, human measurements and Fibonacci sequence into a catch all proportion that was expertly displayed at Ville Savoye and the Unite d’Habitation.
Le Corbusier placed systems of harmony and proportion at the centre of his design philosophy, and his faith in the mathematical order of the universe was closely bound to the “rhythms…….of human activities”.
“Long live the good taste manifested by choice, subtlety, proportion, and harmony”.