Who designed the iconic Le Corbusier LC7 Swivel Chair? Well, it wasn’t Le Corbusier!
Most of the famous mid-century modern designers named after high-quality reproductions of originals and often discussed in inner design circles seem to have left out an entire group of world-class designers. All of whom just so happen to be women.
This is the first of a series of blog articles shining light upon many of the unknown, and forgotten names throughout iconic design history.
These forward-thinking female mid-century modern designers have made huge contributions to history with their inventions. Some of these include: The LC7 Swivel Chair (unjustly signed Le Corbusier), several of the earliest steel tube functional furniture designs, and the actual founder of modern tapestry.
Let’s begin our journey into the world of women mid-century modern designers. Starting with Eileen Gray, Anni Albers, and Charlotte Perriand.
Eileen Gray (1878-1976)
Eileen Gray was a professionally trained artist and designer. Her early years were spent exhibiting in world-renowned galleries using mixed media, including decorative panels, geometric abstract designs, and Japanese-inspired artwork. During the 1920’s, she became aware of the Dutch avant-garde De Stijl movement and early steel tube designs, which led her to furniture design, becoming one of the pioneers of tubular steel furniture. From 1926 to 1929, her most well-known project, The Villa E 1027 was a masterful architectural and interior design collaboration with architect Badovici. Not only did she design the structure of the house, but also its interior and the furniture designs within it.
Anni Albers (1899-1994)
Annie Albers is one of the pioneers of the Bauhaus School (1919-1933) and invented modern tapestry. She was an professionally trained artist in wood and metal, but soon switched to textiles because of a rare neurological disorder, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. Using her Bauhaus School training, she founded the modern abstract motifs of weaving into an avant-garde art form. Her potent tapestries were expertly crafted, colorful woven textiles turned Bauhaus wall art, emphasizing this sophisticated and unmistakable style.
Charlotte Perriand (1903 – 1999)
Charlotte Perriand is an iconic pioneer among mid-century modernists due to her well-known designs which continue to be well-loved and reproduced today. These furniture designs include but are not limited to, the Chaise Longue model LC4, also known as the Chaise Longue Le Corbusier, and the LC7 swivel chair. In fact, she designed the LC7 in 1927, although it was accredited to Le Corbusier, and signed Le Corbusier. However she collaborated for 10 years with Le Corbusier and his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret fo interior design projects for the various buildings the 2 architects designed. Aside from these well-known furniture designs, she led a bustling career for 75 years inventing and creating a variety of other practical and elegant furniture. Beyond solely furniture, she also carried out interior design projects for large-scale and luxurious projects of their era. She even spent almost 2 decades of her life to the design of Les Arcs Resort.
Next up: Who Designed it? Famous Female Design Pioneers: Florence Knoll, Lilly Reich, and Greta Grossman