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Le Corbusier

Switzerland (1887–1965)

There are perhaps only a handful of people who truly changed the way the 20th Century looked, and Le Corbusier was without a doubt one of them. A self-taught poly­math in the fields of archi­tec­ture, philos­o­phy, and design, Le Cour­busier was among the very first to encour­age the use of tubular steel and concrete, and certainly a master of those mate­ri­als. His work empha­sizes profile over orna­ment, with a firm belief that simple geomet­ric forms are best.

Born Charles-Edouard Jean­neret-Griss in 1887, by the age of twenty he’d relo­cated from Switzer­land to Paris, short­ened his name to Le Corbusier, and designed his first house. Le Corbusier went on to conceive the Inter­na­tional Style, a philos­o­phy that favored open floor plans, concrete struc­tures raised on support pillars, and hori­zon­tal windows instead of orna­mented facades. Build­ings like his Radiant City in Marseille remain the né plus ultra of Modernism and prefig­ured Brutal­ism, influ­enc­ing gener­a­tions of archi­tects to come. And his furni­ture has grown even more influ­en­tial since his death in 1965. Seating like his steel-and-hide LC1 chair are, while radical in their day, are now like time­less clas­sics, often imitated but never bettered. 

Designs by Le Corbusier (8)