Pierre Chareau is a celebrated architect, interior designer, and furniture designer of the modern movement. He was born in Bordeaux in 1883 to a family of shipbuilders and studied architecture at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris from 1900 to 1908. Although he studied architecture, Chareau’s primary interest was in furniture design. His furniture was unique in that it was often designed to perform multiple functions, and was dynamic and transformable so that it could take different forms to perform different functions. Pivoting and expanding fan-shaped configurations are a hallmark of Chareau’s work. Chareau was also avant-garde in his choice of materials. He worked frequently with steel, glass, and hammered metals, which were very uncommon at the time. The influence of Neoplasticism, Cubism, De Stijl, and Gerrit Rietveld can be seen in his work. Chareau’s designs demonstrates a fascination with the relationship between body and space, and appear to be ergonomic in their conception.
|Chareau in his Paris apartment 1927|
Chareau’s most noteworthy architectural work is La Maison de Verre, which was built from 1928 to 1932. In 1940 Chareau moved to New York, where he spent the remainder of his life. He committed suicide in 1950. HIs last work was a studio made entirely of army surplus material in East Hampton, NY, for the painter Robert Motherwell.