Swiss, 1896 - 1967
Pierre Jeanneret was an architect and designer. He attended the School of Fine Arts in Geneva (École des Beaux-Arts de Genève) and was greatly influenced by his cousin and mentor Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, known as Le Corbusier. The two cousins started a collaboration from the early-1920s and wrote together a manifesto entitled “Five Points towards a New Architecture”, which rationalized architecture, following right-angled geometrical forms, emphasizing practicality and comfort, refining the décor to simple abstract lines and adopting new materials such as concrete, steel and glass. At the end of the 1920s, they partnered with Charlotte Perriand to create a set of modern furnishings fitting the spirit of their innovative architecture. However, their working relationship ended in 1940 when Pierre joined the French Resistance whereas Le Corbusier moved to Vichy, admiring certain aspects of totalitarian and fascist theories.
They worked, nevertheless, once again together after the war on the urban plan and architecture of Chandigarh in India, the new capital city of Punjab after the partition of India and the creation of Pakistan. Pierre Jeanneret spent fifteen years in India as Architect-in-Chief, following-up the constructions and designing a whole typology of furniture to equip the buildings. His pieces are simple and harmonious but also solid and comfortable. They show the influence of the local tradition as Pierre Jeanneret selects local timber such as teak, and caning for chair seats and backs. By fusing the use of traditional Indian materials with his modern design of furnishings, he introduced a new concept of art de vivre in this newborn city. Chandigarh became a reference in terms of mid-century modernity and was inscribed on the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 2016.