About the Chandigarh furniture project
We noticed that there is a lot of confusion and miss-understanding about Chandigarh furniture or “Pierre Jeanneret furniture.” We decided to write about the origin of the design and to explain the terms that are often used to describe the pieces.
-About the Chandigarh furniture pieces:
During the 1950s, Indias’s Punjab government elected to build a new capital city, which would become the city of Chandigarh. Alongside Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret would be assigned to many architectural projects, as well as the responsibility to design the blueprints for the furniture pieces that would be made for the government and public buildings.
Pierre Jeanneret handed over these blueprints to multiple carpentry studios across the Punjab region, and each would then start the production of the many furniture pieces for the city, according to the project specifications.
The production requirements would vary, depending on the projects, which resulted in various versions being made from each blueprint.
-What is an “original”?
Technically, there is no official description as to what an original “Chandigarh” or “Pierre Jeanneret” furniture piece is since the furniture has never been granted a single production license.
Many refer to an “original” piece being a vintage piece, a piece that was produced during the 1950s and has since been restored.
However, Punjab studios had been making the pieces for the city of Chandigarh until the 1980s, and some are still producing the pieces for the international market today.
The term “original” is also used by vintage dealers to describe a vintage piece, a piece with a specific “originality license” or to describe a piece with a particular marking.
We’d like to explain these specifications in further details:
- We would label pieces as vintage if the piece was made between 1950 and 1980. This was the period during which carpentry studios would make the pieces for the city of Chandigarh; however, the vast majority of pieces that were made during these 30 yeas vary substantially, and most have to be significantly restored to be used today. For example, the student chairs that were made during the early 1950s were produced using natural cane, whilst most models that were made after the 1960s were made using plastic canning for durability. The designs also varied substantially, depending on the order specifications, and no piece had a specific model name.
- Written markings: Some vintage pieces will feature written marking on the wooden frame. This was originally done by the carpentry studio to label the destination of the piece. Ex: the chairs made for local 6 of the public library would be labeled “PL-CH-Loc6”. Many pieces also have markings for other reasons, due to the daily use of the pieces over time. However, we’ve seen markings often being put on modern productions, in order for them to be labeled as “original.” This is fairly sad, as this is used to dishonestly present a furniture piece.
- “Licenses” or “Certifications”: The city of Chandigarh has decided not to give out any specific production or design license, as hundreds of studios and craftsmen are responsible for the many designs and variations of the blueprints for the Chandigarh furniture pieces.
There technically is no such as thing as an “official license” or “production certification,” other than one provided by the vendor describing the sale of the item.
If a piece is sold with such a license, then it would be wise to question the origin and precise meaning of it.
-Are these replicas?
Technically, a Chandigarh piece can not be labeled as “replica” or “reproduction,” as there is no production license for the pieces.
That being said, Srelle produces Chandigarh furniture in Northern India using the same production techniques, production standards and materials used during the early 1950s, and can, therefore, be labeled as Chandigarh furniture.