«While the name Le Corbusier is well known for the man’s utopian and innovative ideas and achievements, he was actually born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret. The surname is one that he shared with his cousin and frequent collaborator Pierre Jeanneret, whose furniture is proving particularly noteworthy today, not unlike the work of Jean Prouvé, Charlotte Perriand, and others… Yesterday’s rock stars of design rediscovered today.»
While Le Corbusier met with quick success and fame, he also worked on various projects with his cousin Pierre Jeanneret, with no shortage of intellectual reflections on their architectural ideas and philosophy. The two joined forces to publish a manifesto entitled Five Points to a New Architecture (1926-1927). The themes developed therein include: pilotis, roof gardens (both accessible and usable), free design of the ground plan (absence of supporting walls), the horizontal window, and the free design of the facade. These ideas would go on to find practical application within Le Corbusier’s construction projects.
In the 1920s and 1930s, the two cousins worked together in furniture design (along with Charlotte Perriand), until wartime politics came between the two. While Pierre Jeanneret chose to join the ranks of the resistance, Le Corbusier’s loyalties ran in the other direction (with the architect’s leanings being questioned recently and raising controversy over his role during this dark period of history).
In the 1950s, the two partners worked together on Chandigarh, a large city the cousins designed ex nihilo (for more, see the separate post on this subject). Pierre Jeanneret was mainly responsible for ensuring the future development and maintenance of the site in India for a long time to come.
Pierre Jeanneret’s legacy with future generations seems brighter than ever, thanks to the positive reactions to his furniture creations as of late. Pierre Jeanneret truly is the long-lost cousin hiding in plain sight.
As for Le Corbu, aside from the controversy, he remains a major architect whose works were inscribed on the list of Unesco World Heritage sites in 2016—and rightly so.