Originally designed to fill the government offices of Chandigarh in the 1950s, Swiss architect Pierre Jeanneret’s collection of teak and rattan chairs have become one of the most sought after mid-century modern design pieces in the world.
Over 70 years ago Pierre Jeanneret was appointed to help his famous cousin, Le Corbusier, design a range of desk and armchairs for the committee meeting rooms in the capital city of Chandigarh, India. The chairs were assembled with durable and bug resistant rosewood and teak, helping them to survive decades piled up across the city, or sold as scrap for a few rupees.
Combining eastern and western influence, Pierre collaborated with local artisans to design the chairs and drew inspiration from their time-honoured techniques. Working with modest materials like teak and rosewood frames and rattan seats, each design is distinguished by the varying inclines of the chair back, the V, X, or Z angle of the legs, and whether or not it has arms.
True to the minimal aesthetic of the time, the chairs were held together with finger joints rather than nails and designed with both form and function in mind. There’s the reclined ‘Easy chair’ for lounging, or the ‘Writing chair’ with a flat tray on the arm to rest a notepad and pen on.
“It’s so simple, so minimal, so strong... Put one in a room, and it becomes a sculpture.”- Joseph Dirand
A favourite of interior designers like Joseph Dirand, he uses Jeanneret’s designs for his work including his home in Paris. “It’s so simple, so minimal, so strong,” Dirand tells Architectural Digest. “Put one in a room, and it becomes a sculpture.”
Fast forward to early 2000 designers like François Laffanour and Philippe Jousse travelled to Chandigarh and revived the discarded treasures. On reviving the chairs, Laffanour shares “we said, let’s take the risk in buying these, and we’ll see what happens."
While the original chairs sit in the tens of thousands, Tigmi Trading are thrilled to be working with artisans in Chandigarh who are creating re-editions working from the original design and honouring the same craftsmanship and materials. Made by hand, all the re editions feature the original nuances, such as the inclination of the seat and the gentle rounding of edges along the chair frame, ensuring they are carefully crafted exactly as they once were.