Charles-Edouard Jeanneret Gris was born in 1887, in La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland. At age thirteen, he was apprenticed to a watch engraver, which he abandoned due to his delicate eyesight. He continued to study art and decoration under Charles L’Eplattenier, with the object of becoming a painter. It was L’Eplattenier who insisted that he study architecture, and who arranged his first commissions.
During the First World War, Le Corbusier designed a system of module housing he called “Dom-ino”. This work was to become the basis for much of his architectural work over his lifetime, though he built nothing between 1918 to 1922, when he established an architectural studio in Paris with his cousin, Pierre Jeanneret.
In 1920, in the spirit of the belief that anyone can reinvent themselves, Charles Edouard adopted his maternal grandmothers name “Lecorbézier”, which he altered to become “Le Corbusier”. Some say that the name not only pleased him with in being object-like, it also suggested a crow (in French “corbeau”), which his profile is said to resemble.
Le Corbusier never made or designed furnishings for his spaces until 1928, when he invited architect Charlotte Perriand to join his studio. The first result of their collaboration was a line of tubular steel-framed chairs, which were designed for two of his projects. The line was soon expanded. Today, Cassina holds exclusive rights to manufacture Le Corbusier’s designs, as authorised by the Fondation Le Corbusier.