"Our eyes are made to see forms in light. Light and shade reveal these forms."
Born as Charles Édouard-Jeanneret in fall of 1887 in the small industrial town of La Chaux-de-Fonds in a section of the Alps just across the border from France, Le Corbusier was encouraged by his parents to study decorative arts. In 1904, he entered the Advanced Decorative Arts Course at the Art School in La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1904, where he was taught by the painter Charles L’Eplattenier - who would exert a strong influence and encourage him to study architecture.
Years later, during the outbreak of World War I, he began to teach architecture to others while working on his own studies of reinforced concrete. The new knowledge was integral in shaping his unique take on design - emphasizing the purity of geometric forms, and eventually, their connection with light.
In his lifetime, he also met several cubist painters who shared his perspective on the visual representation of shapes. This led to the development of the painting movement known as “Purism”. The movement gained further strength in 1920 with the launch of L’Esprit Nouveau magazine - an outlet that Jeanneret contributed to - in whose first issue he adopted his professional pseudonym, Le Corbusier - deriving from “le corbeau”, meaning “the raven”.
The painting movement left its mark on Le Corbusier’s work up until his death in 1965, as the pure forms in the art influenced his perception of the industrial world. Focusing on the illumination of defined shapes, Le Corbusier’s well known lighting designs include the Borne Béton, Marseille, Parliament, and Projecteur collections.