Pierre Jeanneret, ‘Set of six 'Committee' armchairs, model no. PJ-SI-30-A, designed for the High Court, the Assembly and Punjab University administrative buildings, Chandigarh’, 1953-1954, Phillips

Each: 87 x 58 x 66 cm (34 1/4 x 22 7/8 x 25 7/8 in.)

From the Catalogue:
Addressing the urgent need for a Punjabi capital, Prime Minister Nehru commissioned the planning and construction of Chandigarh, a model city to be built in the foothills of the Himalayas. Named after the Hindu goddess Chandi (bearer of lotus and lightning), Chandigarh would function as the symbol of a progressive and auspicious India.

American planner Albert Mayer and Polish architect Matthew Nowicki drafted the first drawings of the city, a rectangular grid of ‘superblocks’ intended to house 500,000 residents. Nowicki died in a plane crash in 1950, and Mayer withdrew from the project. In their stead, Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret undertook the design and completion of the capitol complex, including the ‘sectors’ for housing, government offices, and industry. Jeanneret became chief architect after Le Corbusier’s departure in 1959.

Aided by admiring Indian colleagues, Jeanneret built a series of residential and civic buildings including the dramatic Ghandi Bhawan, the library of Ghandian studies at Punjab University. For Jeanneret, no detail was too small; he designed furniture, lampposts, manhole covers, paddle boats-everything. The architectural critic Patwant Singh wrote: ‘His solutions were not impatient impositions.’ Jeanneret achieved to build what the border Commissions chair Sir Cyril Radcliffe could not: a modern India. When Jeanneret returned to Europe in 1965, ill and unable to work, he reportedly lamented, ‘I am leaving my home and going to a foreign country.’ His ashes were returned to Chandigarh and scattered on Lake Sukhna.
Courtesy of Phillips

Eric Touchaleaume and Gerald Moreau, Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, The Indian Adventure: Design-Art-Architecture, Paris, 2010, pp. 232-33, 563
Galerie Patrick Seguin, ed., Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret: Chandigarh, India, Paris, 2014, pp. 158-59, 161-62, 283

Chandigarh, India

About Pierre Jeanneret

Though overshadowed by his cousin Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret was a visionary of modernist architecture and design. Together, the pair pioneered a new aesthetic vocabulary that placed function and order over embellishment—Jeanneret’s work imbuing the strict geometry of modernism with energetic diagonals and lighter materials like cane and wood. A consistent innovator, he collaborated with Charlotte Perriand on experiments in aluminum and wood, and developed prefabricated housing with Jean Prouvé. In the early 1950s Jeanneret joined his cousin in Chandigarh, India, where they embarked on a massive urban-planning project, laying out the city and designing low-cost buildings and furniture. Though Corbusier abandoned the project halfway through, Jeanneret remained for 15 years as the project’s chief architect. The city remains a masterpiece of the modern vision.

Swiss, 1896-1967, Geneva, Switzerland