London’s Design Museum is hosting a retrospective of designer and architect Charlotte Perriand’s work, bringing together sketches and prototypes alongside reconstructions of her iconic interiors.
Set to open in June this year, the show will be the closest visitors get to experience some of the rooms designed by Perriand, with her 1929 Salon d’Automne apartment recreated in full. The 90 sqm model home was intended as a manifesto for modern living and featured tubular metal furniture and other multipurpose metal elements, including cabinets that were also room partitions.
The exhibition will also include iconic pieces of furniture, such as the Chaise Longue Basculante, as well as photos and scrapbooks that the museum promises will shed new light on her creative process. The Design Museum worked together with the Perriand family to curate the show, which arrives 25 years after the first Charlotte Perriand exhibition held at the museum in 1996.
The French designer rose to prominence in the late 20s after showing her Bars sou le toit installation – originally created for her own apartment in Paris – at the 1927 Salon D’Automne art exhibition. She spent the rest of the 20s and 30s designing interiors at Le Corbusier’s studio – even though the Swiss architect initially dismissed her interest in working with him by telling her, ‘We don’t embroider cushions in my studio.’
Having seen her steel-heavy Bars sou le toit, he changed his mind and hired her. While at Le Corbusier’s studio, Perriand helped design several iconic furniture pieces that the architect often receives credit for, such as the Grand Confort armchair.
Perriand went on to work with Jean Prouvé – designing military barracks and furnishings for temporary housing during the Second World War – as well as several other designers including Fernand Léger, Lúcio Costa and Ernö Goldfinger. Her body of work spans, among other things, a ski resort in France, kitchen prototypes, and interiors for Air France.