Pierre Jeanneret Tokyo

Pierre Jeanneret

Jeanneret and Le Corbusier/Jeanneret and Le Corbusier

Jeanneret and Corbusier
Jeanneret (right) and Corbusier

Pierre Jeanneret is an architect from Geneva, Switzerland. Corbusier (also known as Le Corbusier, real name Charles-Edouard Jeanneret-Gris), who is known as a master of modern architecture, is his cousin. However, the legacy of Pierre Jeanneret (hereinafter referred to as Jeanneret) is not that he was Corbusier's cousin.

Jeanneret looked up to Corbusier, who was nine years his senior, as his mentor, and in 1922, Jeanneret was only 26 years old when they established an architectural office in Paris. Their atelier on Rue Sèvres also included the French architect Charlotte Perriand, with whom they later collaborated on many works as a team, as well as architects Kunio Maekawa and Junzo Itakura, who had moved to France from Japan. .

In fact, Corbusier, who had never received any specialized training in architecture, and Jeanneret, who studied architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts in Geneva, created a number of architectural works and renovations during their time at this joint office, and the pair developed a strong relationship with modernism. It is said that the ideology of Japan was also established during this time. Although their partnership was temporarily dissolved during World War II due to differences in political ideology, after the war Corbusier was asked to work on the Chandigarh Capital Project, an urban plan in India, and Jeanneret worked with him as the local director. Jeanneret accepts the job on the condition that he become a member. Their collaboration resumes on a grand scale: the creation of a city. Corbusier was 64 years old and Jeanneret was 55.

While Corbusier was said to be gregarious and good at sales, he was said to be difficult and demanding of his work, while Jeanneret, who was gentle and introverted, never put himself ahead of Corbusier and always used his quiet passion to create innovative designs. It is said that he was a craftsman who focused on the details.

“Jeanneret was in the “shadow” of his cousin….” Many articles about Jeanneret that can be found today contain statements like this.

Jeanneret, who spent most of his life as an architect collaborating with Corbusier, placed himself in a discreet position beside Corbusier, who was shining as a charismatic figure in the architectural world, and in the background. He understood Corbusier best and contributed to many projects as a technically and knowledgeably excellent partner.


The capital of Punjab, which was built according to India's first urban plan and is called "The beautiful city." At the direction of India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who had just gained independence from Britain, this city plan was created as a symbol of freedom freed from the constraints of the British past. It was carried out by a project team led by , and created a city lined with many modernist buildings, including the state capitol, the high court, schools, and museums. These include projects that Jeanneret was solely responsible for designing, such as the University of the Punjab and an apartment complex that is said to have as many as 7,000 units.

Corbusier is said to have traveled more than 20 times to visit the site for this project, but Jeanneret moved to Chandigarh in 1951 when he started the project, but then became ill and returned to his native Switzerland. For about 15 years until 1965, he continued to live there and worked as the chief architect of Chandigarh, and also contributed to other urban planning projects in India.

Corbusier later praised his cousin's achievements, saying, ``The Chandigarh project would not have been possible without Pierre.'' When Jeanneret passed away two years after returning to Japan, his ashes were scattered in Chandigarh's Sukhna Lake, in accordance with Jeanneret's will, expressing his love for the city he had watched over its growth since its construction.

With Corbusier on Jeanneret's own boat
Jeanneret relaxing with Corbusier on Sukhna Lake on a boat he designed himself

Chandigarh furniture of Jeanneret/Chandigarh furniture of Jeanneret

Jeanneret also designed furniture to be placed inside these buildings as part of the Chandigarh project. Known as the ``Man of simple things,'' Jeanneret's furniture, like his modernist architecture, was imbued with the very essence of Chandigarh, combining minimalist beauty with practicality. It is said that there were several thousand chairs alone, and the materials used for the furniture were locally available materials such as teak and rattan, and the culture and handicrafts that were cultivated in the lives of the local people were used. Genneret is said to have diligently researched to make sure that it was produced by skillfully utilizing the technology. The slogans of modern society such as "sustainable manufacturing" and "ethical trade" were basic concepts that Jeanneret, who was involved in city construction in the 1950s, did not need to advocate.

Jeanneret's furniture, also known as Chandigarh furniture, represented by the "X" and "V" shapes, was created using the traditional techniques of Indian craftsmen who created his ideal of modernism using local materials.

However, since a large amount of furniture was needed during the construction of Chandigarh, even in factories such as New Delhi that were not supervised by Jeanneret, furniture that did not adhere to the standards of the blueprints and was merely of a ``same design'' was produced. Many were also made. A true Jeanneret blueprint requires traditional and sophisticated techniques such as mortise and tenon joints and dovetail joints. At that time, only products that were made faithfully to the blueprints under the supervision of Jeanneret's design office were considered "original."

Jeanneret's Chandigarh furniture made in the 1950s has become dilapidated and damaged over time, as well as due to unfortunate storage conditions, and today pieces in good condition are sold at extremely high prices at auctions and are difficult to obtain. Furthermore, ever since Chandigarh's Capitol Complex* was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016, it has been prohibited to export it from India. However, in recent years, a project has begun to recreate Chandigarh furniture at a factory in India that continues the Jeanneret legacy.

This move not only delivers the furniture designed by Jeanneret to modern fans, but also plays an important role in passing on the techniques to the next generation.


Re-Authentic Jeanneret/Reproduction of authentic Jeanneret

Jeanneret's Chandigarh furniture that we offer is manufactured in a factory in India that has blueprints designed by Jeanneret himself and rare originals. At this factory, skilled craftsmen who are fascinated by " beautiful furniture making " continue to create furniture for customers all over the world that can only be done by hand and cannot be mass-produced using large machines. The sons, who received direct guidance from their parents who worked as furniture craftsmen at a factory, are supervising the Jeanneret reproduction project team's entire production process, from material procurement to production.

Reusing old teak wood in carefully selected conditions

The angle of the arched backrest, seat surface, and elbow rest

Rounded edges and slight indentations in the seat

"Joining" joins without using nails or screws

A truly hand-spun wisteria sheet

Careful polishing work takes an average of one week to finish each chair.

There are still many elements to recreate Jeanneret's breath. They accurately preserve the techniques and details inherited from their parents, and work with pride to recreate authentic Jeanneret. What is born from this is not ``Furniture like Jeanneret'', but ``Jeanneret Chandigarh Furniture'', which is manufactured faithfully to the original blueprints.

More than 70 years have passed since Jeanneret set foot in Chandigarh for the grand undertaking of building a state capital in a foreign land. In the 21st century, we have revisited the legacy of Pierre Jeanneret, who is said to have supported his cousin, a great architect, and shed light on the Chandigarh furniture that Jeanneret left behind. Over time, modern craftsmen have faithfully recreated the original, preserving not only the blueprints and techniques, but also the homage to Jeanneret.

Pierre Jeanneret
Pierre Jeanneret/Pierre Jeanneret (1896 - 1967)

*Chandigarh Capitol Complex A group of buildings such as administrative buildings, high court, and parliament building built under the Chandigarh urban construction project.