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Jan 13, 2006

Charlotte Perriand lived long enough to see her modern furniture became famous, and command six-figure prices at dealers and auction houses around the world. But more importantly, she knew how to live. Perriand, was one of the most influential furniture designers of the early modern movement. She introduced the ‘machine age’ aesthetic to interiors in the steel, aluminum and glass furniture she created at Le Corbusier’s architectural studio in the late 1920s and 1930s. Perriand was also one of the most remarkable women of the 20th century, but like many woman who labor long in the shadow of more famous men, it was she who most displayed a spirit of living that is lacking in life today. Part of this loss could be our feeling that there is little new in the world for us to discover, that discoveries happen only in laboratories and computer rooms. For a designer there seems to be little to discover, but is this true? Other cultures were a source of rich inspiration to Perriand, but while our opportunity for exposure to cultures in the 21st century is certainly greater, is our understanding of some cultures really any better today? For designers, there is still much more to discover about the human condition – and Perriand can teach us about playfulness, adventure and the joy of discovery. The exhibit "Charlotte Perriand" is open until March 27 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. For more information visit www.centrepompidou.fr and read the book Charlotte Perriand: A Life of Creation (The Monacelli Press). Visit www.tedwells.com.


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Thank you both for your comments. All the feedback is very helpful to me. And, Mike, thank you for the tip on the BBC podcast. Glad you are listening.

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Following on a French theme, I thought you may be interested to hear the latest BBC radio programme \'From our own Correspondent\', (02.02.06) available on iTunes as a podcast. One of the issues is how design has affected the lives of the people in the Paris suburbs where the recent rioting occurred. Originally designed by Le Corbusier some districts have been re-modelled to humanise them, the result being no riots in these areas.
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Like Eileen Gray and many other not well known \"woman who labor long in the shadow of more famous men\" finally Charlotte Perriand is getting the attention she deserves. At least she has been happy to celebrate this attention much more than most of the talented women designers from the past.