Paris Exhibition Gives Charlotte Perriand Her Due

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In 1936, Charlotte Perriand wrote a letter to Pierre Jeanneret, a frequent collaborator of hers, and his cousin Le Corbusier. “If I abandon the ‘profession of architecture’ in order to focus on problems more directly connected with life,” she wrote, “it is to be able to see more clearly into these problems, and also above all else it is because there was a barrier, a wall in our work…. The wall is cracked, and there is a whole new world that absorbs our interest, because ultimately, the Profession of Architecture is work in the service of humanity.”

This quotation appears fairly early on in Charlotte Perriand: Inventing a New World, the excellent exhibition on the French polymath that currently occupies all four floors of the Fondation Louis Vuitton (FLV) in Paris. Signaling a break from the Machine Age aesthetic she cultivated with her male associates, it reveals a lot about Perriand’s professional trajectory. Over the course of her long life, Perriand crisscrossed disciplinary boundaries—architecture, photography, textiles, furniture design—while retaining a seemingly voracious appetite for life…

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