Born in 1903 in Paris. While studying at École de l’Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, Charlotte was disappointed from the classic approach of the academy that was based on the arts and its tendency towards Beaux-Arts. She found her inspiration in the everyday things of life – in the streets of Paris, in industrial materials and in automobile design she was exposed to in the streets of Paris.
In 1927, Charlotte arrived in the Le Corbusier studio and Paris seeking employment. Le Corbusier famously answered her: “We don’t sew pillows in here” and asked her to leave. Several months later, when Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret visited the Bar sous le Toît, designed by Perriand for the Salon D’Automne exhibit in Paris, he was deeply impressed by the chrome and aluminum covered furniture she designed and apologized to her, inviting her to join his studio.
Their first collaboration of the two was in 1929, when they created a model of a modern apartment made with glass and pipes, to be exhibited in the Salon d’Automne exhibit. They planned buildings and structures that their interior designed matched the outdoor design. Perriand used “New” materials at the time, inspired by the aviation and automobile industries. The use of chrome metal pipes for furniture was accepted as a breath of fresh air in the design industry in Europe. In 1937, she left Le Corbusier studio and started focusing on designing with more traditional materials. When the second world war broke, she left for Japan, where she served as the official designer for the industry and commerce office in the field of industrial design.
Upon returning to France, she took part in architectural projects with Le Corbusier and Fernand Legar. The experience she gained in Japan and Vietnam, where she spent her time during the war, started influencing her work: she combined materials such as wood and bamboo and created more delicate designs in an Indian-Chinese style. Perriand was part of the founding members of the Union des Artistes Modernes, where she met Jean Prouve. When asked about her work, Perriand answered: “I constantly seek and look for live, modern art…the most important thing to understand is that what moves the modern movement is aspiring research and study. It’s a process of analysis, not of style.” In one of her last interviews, Perriand was quoted saying about the modern movement: “We work with ideals.”. Perriand passed away in October 27th, 1999 in Paris.