While the bare outline of her life is generally known to anyone interested in design, this autobiography, written by Perriand toward the end of her life, is full of surprises. The iconic designs and legendary partnerships (Le Corbusier, Prouvé, etc.) that she is best known for end up almost as mere blips in her own remembrances of a long, active life; a life devoted not only to design, but to her work and relationships in Asia, social causes, and perhaps her second-greatest love, the outdoors. Perriand's never-look-back approach to a fully engaged life of creation means there are more remarkable experiences on nearly every one of this book's 383 pages than most people have in a lifetime.


I was initiated into architecture, into the "masterly, correct and magnificent play of volumes brought together in light," as Corbu wrote in Towards a New Architecture.  I made my first visit to one of the finest examples, the Villa La Roche, which today houses the Fondation Le Corbusier.  My first assignment was to furnish this dwelling, built in 1922 by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret...

What a shock that experience was-especially in 1927-almost an overwhelming sensation of bliss.  I humbly took in the ensemble- a white space punctuated by colored walls that either receded or stood out depending on their chromatic values.  Proceeding though the house, my senses were pervaded by visual resonance, a fragmented continuity that created an overall harmony while hinting at underlying rupture.  I would come to realize that it is crucial to think through all these factors when designing individual rooms, for one false note always breaks the magic spell.

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