Charlotte Perriand, Collier Roulement a Billes Chromees, (Ball-bearing Necklace), 1927, Adagp, Paris, 2019 © AChP
Perriand gained fame for her ‘Le bar sous le toit’ (The bar beneath the roof) showcased at Salon d’Automne in 1927. It was a sensational work at a time when fastidious and overdecorated interiors were widely accepted. In this piece, Perriand avoided decorating surfaces, and used industrial materials such as aluminum, glass, and chrome, which are commonly used in car appliances. Though she held a strong an interest in the asymmetrical beauty of nature, Perriand also explored a great interest in mechanical aesthetics, particularly automobiles, which were the best examples of state-of-the-art technology back then. She would notably observe luxury cars with their shining bodies along the Les Champs-Elysees. Her fascination for machines was evident in her fashion sense as well. She preferred wearing a necklace of interlocking copper balls. She called it “my ball-bearings necklace” and regarded it as a symbol of her adherence to the twentieth-century machine age.
It is not surprising that Perriand approached Le Corbusier, a pioneer of modern architecture who coined the well-known phrase “a house is a machine for living in,” to work at his studio. Along with Swiss architect Pierre Jeanneret, Perriand specifically worked on furnishings and interior designs for “a new way of living” with rationality and functionality. Although she was fascinated by machines, humaneness was an integral part of her design. For example, the ‘LC3 Armchair’ (1928) that Perriand designed along with Corbusier and Jeanneret is not only stylish but also comfortable. Metal furniture, which tends to be inorganic, was given a luxurious feel using leather and fur. The famous ‘LC4 Lounge Chair’ (1928) was a fashionable version of the chaise lounge. The person lying down in the photograph is Perriand, and if you observe closely, you can see that she is wearing the above mentioned copper ball necklace.