Architecture is an ebb and flow between interior and exterior — a round trip
— Charlotte Perriand
Everything is linked.
The body and the mind; mankind and the world; the earth and the sky
Known brilliantly for her work alongside Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, Charlotte Perriand brought about a profound change in aesthetic values and gave birth to a truly modern sensitivity towards everyday life. She saw that a distinct dimension of humaneness was added to the often-cold rationalism of Le Corbusier, who himself was credited with ‘discovering’ Perriand, though her daughter Pernette, hopes to amend this idea and greatly add to her record.
Perriand believed that the products that we surround ourselves with, and the environments we inhabit directly affect our state of mind. With this as her staring point, she turned these beliefs in to action, creating a legacy of design based on functionality and rationality in service to a better world
Between 1960 and 1961, Charlotte Perriand designed and built herself a small chalet in Meribel les Allues in France’s Savoie region, not far from the ski resorts she would later design in the area. Set on two levels of around 40 square meters, each floor with its own kitchen and a bathroom, making independent living spaces for both herself and her daughter Pernette, whom she shared the chalet with.
Nesting on the side of a mountain, overlooking a valley, even at first glance it is apparent that the building is a private and intimate place, a place of sanctuary and refuge for the spirit. Reflective of the way in which she occupied the space over the years, using it as her special place to find reprieve in her ‘chalet next to the singing river’ as she wrote in her autobiography ‘A Life of Creation’.
The space encapsulates Perriand’s deep connection to nature and organic materials and brings forth an understanding of why her thinking was so deeply humanist and her modernity of thought can be read in even the smallest details of the architecture.
With attention fixed upon comfort and simplicity, this is best felt in the natural wood and the exposed stone. Sometimes it is evocative of the brutalist spirit that characterised much of her work with Le Corbusier, but also taking root in the vernacular furniture or Savoie, her connection stemming to the area from her childhood spent visiting her grandparents who lived there. There is also a slight nod towards Japanese influence, a place that Charlotte called home for some time in the 40’s, communicated in tatami like rice straw mats.
The multiple design solutions for the chalet demonstrate a desire to rethink domestic uses and initiate a new, deeply human art of living, which was and still is completely modern thinking.
Photography Fred Lahache for Milk Decoration, & Ambroise Tezenas for W Magazine
Design — Charlotte Perriand
Location — Meribel les Allies, France