LC4 Chaise Longue

When 24-year-old architect and furniture designer Charlotte Perriand walked into Le Corbusier’s office to ask for a job, he famously said, “We don’t embroider cushions here,” and showed her the door. It wasn’t long after her visit that Le Corbusier’s cousin and collaborator Pierre Jeanneret took Le Corbusier to visit the bar Perriand had designed made of curved steel, glass, and aluminum for her tiny attic apartment, which had been recreated at the Paris Salon d’Automne (the annual design festival) in 1927. Le Corbusier apologized to Perriand for his previous behavior and hired her.

Perriand, Le Corbusier, and Jeanneret worked on a number of furniture designs together. Previously Le Corbusier had been using ready-made Thonet bentwood furniture to fill the interiors of the structures he designed. Together the three designers came up with tubular furniture designs that Le Corbusier referred to as “extensions of our limbs and adapted to human functions.” The most famous was the LC4 chaise longue (or “long chair” in English) designed in 1928. The LC4 is made from an adjustable polished, chrome-plated steel frame fixed on a pair of bows and independent of a base that can be adjusted continuously. The seat and headrest were originally designed using leather and pony hide. When the reclining surface is lifted off the base, the bows serve as runners for a rocking recliner.

The chair became known as the “relaxing machine” because of the way it mirrors the curves of a lounging body. In 1964 Le Corbusier signed an agreement with Italian furniture maker Cassina, who still produces the piece today in cowhide and is fitted with a black leather headrest.

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