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building Comfort

June 25, 2013

GC composite

From Benjamin

Having noted these last two weeks the reach into film of 20th century master architect Le Corbusier’s influence in planning, and residential design, today I cap-off the Corb-in-Film trilogy of posts, in conjunction with the Moma show, with a nod to his furniture design, specifically the ubiquitous Grand Confort Chair.

Designed in 1928 with the help of Corb’s cousin and colleague Pierre Jeanneret and recent hire to his office, architect Charlotte Perriand for the Maison La Roche in Paris, the Grand Confort was his updated version of a classic London Maples club chair.  While the smaller, more compact LC2 version is more frequently seen, their cool austerity is nearly always used to evoke luxury, polish & chic.

In the 1980 “American Gigolo” (top left), it’s a symbol of sophistication, proof that its owner is no ordinary street hustler. In the 1998 “The Big Lebowski” (top right) it’s shown as a reverse affectation in the otherwise chaotic loft
of a dangerous artist. The 2000 Schwarzenegger action flick “The 6th Day” shows the chair (bot left) in a forbidding, futurist, corporate anteroom. And in the 2007 “Music and Lyrics” (bot it’s a sign of musician Hugh Grant’s lasting fortunes.  And as recently as 2010, it was still being used to point to the future when Steve
Jobs introduced the i-pad
to the world while seated in its spare embrace.

But no discussion of Corb’s persistent communication to our age through this iconographic design would be complete without notice of its use in the Maxell television ad from 1979. So succussful was the art direction of this campaign in evoking style, affluence and modernity, that awards were given, posters are sold and it still lives on for our entertainment on Youtube.  Such is the Corbusian legacy nearly a 100 years on.


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