The Curious Case of Chandigarh Chairs: From Discarded to Iconic

Classic yet insouciant, the Chandigarh Chair has captivated the world with its timeless design and impeccable craftsmanship. Once considered ordinary furniture in 1950s and 1960s India, it has now become a sought-after collectible, gracing the...

Classic yet insouciant, the Chandigarh Chair has captivated the world with its timeless design and impeccable craftsmanship. Once considered ordinary furniture in 1950s and 1960s India, it has now become a sought-after collectible, gracing the interiors of architects, designers, and even celebrities.

The Birth of an Icon

In 1947, as India embraced independence, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru envisioned a new planned capital city for Punjab - Chandigarh. Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier was entrusted with the task of designing this modern city, and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret took charge of mass housing and civic projects. It was Pierre who bestowed iconic status upon the Chandigarh Chair, a key element of his furniture designs for everyday living.

Under Pierre's guidance, artisans and craftsmen worked tirelessly to create a range of furniture, including the famous Chandigarh Chairs, tables, desks, and cabinets. These chairs featured signature elements such as symmetrical V-shaped legs, clean angular lines, and intricate woven cane. Their efficiency, functionality, and use of high-quality materials set them apart.

The Serendipitous Rediscovery

For the residents of Chandigarh, the Jeanneret chairs were once just ordinary pieces of furniture. However, with time, wear and tear took their toll, and these chairs ended up in dump yards rather than adorning local homes and institutions. It seemed that their glory days had long passed.

But fate had a different plan. In the late 80s and 90s, the Chandigarh chairs began to gain attention overseas. They were recognized as design marvels and started fetching high prices at international auctions. Antique dealers and art gallerists eagerly sought after these discarded chairs, revitalizing them for international clients.

From Status Symbols to Trendsetters

In the era of social media and defining trends, the Chandigarh chairs have made a triumphant comeback. Furniture brands and design studios now create inspired models, ensuring that this iconic piece remains accessible to all. Not only do these chairs symbolize status, but they have also gained popularity among celebrities like The Kardashians and influential personalities like Sonam Kapoor.

English model and actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley English model and actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley lounging on a Chandigarh Chair

In conclusion, the Chandigarh Chair's journey from being discarded on the streets to becoming an iconic piece of furniture is a testament to its timeless appeal. Its revival not only celebrates the genius of Pierre Jeanneret but also highlights the significance of preserving and appreciating our design heritage.

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