Our World

The Easy Chair- Pierre Jeanneret

Art & Design

We all know and admire the work of the Swiss French architect and designer, Le Corbusier. One of his most ambitious projects was the design of Chandigarh, a modernistic city in India, built after their independence in 1947. Chandigarh was named the “fortress of Chandi”, after the Indian goddess of power. Le Corbusier (whose birth name was Charles-Éduard Jeanneret) worked with his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret, a trained architect, and designer who moved to India to supervise the construction from 1951 to 1965. Pierre’s task was to design furniture pieces for Chandigarh’s state and private buildings that were inexpensive enough to be produced in the thousands, withstand high humidity and be insect resistant. The Easy Armchair’s V-shaped construction was inspired by his architectural drafting compass.

In the 1980s, thousands of these chairs were left to rot in the streets and burned as a source for cooking and heating. Some were sold as scrap at local auctions for a few rupees. Francois Laffanour, founder of Paris based Galerie 54, discovered the abandoned chairs in the city and carefully restored a few to be shown at Design Miami in November 2006, drawing attention to their design value, and drastically boosting their market value. They soon became a favourite with Belgian designer, Axel Vervoordt and French architect, Joseph Dirand. In 2002, a Jeanneret-designed illuminated reading table could be bought for less than a dollar. In 2008, a Jeanneret illuminated reading table (Model PJ-TAT-10-B) was sold for just over $30,000 through Phillips auction house based in London. A similar table was estimated to sell for $100,000 - $150,000 in a June 2019 auction.

Jeanneret’s chairs discarded, often in piles on the street.

Pierre Jeanneret. PJ-TAT-10-B illuminated reading table. 1964-1966. teak, frosted glass, lacquered steel. 123.5 x 243 x 122cm; 48 ⅝ x 95 ⅝ x 48 in.

Interior by Joseph Dirand