Charlotte Perriand’s midcentury furniture goes on view in New York City
by Carly Ayres
Charlotte Perriand (1903-1999) was a pioneer in using tubular steel to create mass-market furniture, helping shape the modernist movement. The Paris-born architect and designer is now getting her overdue recognition in an exhibition of works at Venus Over Manhattan in New York City.
This is the largest exhibition of Perriand’s work, exploring almost 50 works spanning the breadth of the designer’s nearly eight-decade career.
Produced in collaboration with François Laffanour of Galerie Downtown in Paris, the exhibition brings together Venus Over Manhattan’s commitment to highlighting ‘established artists whose works have been somewhat overlooked’ and Laffanour’s focus on 20th-century European and American masters of design to inform a unique lens.
Perriand first made a splash at the Salon d’Automne with her ‘Bar sous le Toit’, a bar constructed of polished aluminum and glass shelves (1927). One of those impressed by the project was Le Corbusier, who hired Perriand to lead design for his studio — after rejecting her portfolio earlier that year with: ‘We don’t embroider cushions here.’
Together, they went on to design iconic pieces such as the ‘LC4 chaise lounge’ and ‘Fauteuil chrome tubulaire, Édition Thonet’ (with Pierre Jeanneret, 1928), both which helped to establish the machine aesthetic and a highlight of the exhibition.
Other works on display include a rare six-sided table, appropriately called ‘Table à six pans’ (1949) based on the design of Perriand’s first wooden table, which she made in 1938 for her apartment in Montparnasse and her ‘Cusine-Bar Marseille’ (1952) installed alongside kelly green and mustard-coloured walls.
‘Charlotte Perriand’ is currently on view a short walk away from other women-headling shows currently taking over New York: Hilma af Klint at the Guggenheim and Martha Rosler at the Jewish Museum.