Furniture designs we re-edit are either in the public domain or licensed by us from the owner of the Intellectual Property.
In the case of Chandigarh Furniture, some historical context is required to understand the issue of licensing. In the early 1950s, it was decided that furniture must be created for public buildings in the new city of Chandigarh. The furniture would reflect the modernism of the architecture, but would be adapted to local requirements and made by Indian craftsmen with locally available material. A Central Design Office was set up under the leadership of Pierre Jeanneret with a team of young Indian designers and architects assisting him. The design language for Chandigarh furniture was defined by Pierre Jeanneret; however, not all the pieces were designed by Jeanneret alone and for some pieces it is difficult to attribute Intellectual Property precisely.
From the mid 1950s to mid 1960s, a range of furniture was developed, some were site specific and some used across multiple buildings. The designs were meant to be utilitarian and mass produced by outsourcing production to various carpentry workshops across Punjab and North India.
The drawings created by the Design Office were given out to carpentry workshops and model makers with instructions that they could improvise on the design or material as per their judgement. Therefore there are many variants of each model and there is no definitive design for any particular piece. It can be said that these designs were open source (a few decades ahead of the Open Source movement we all know today). The furniture was designed and produced under commission from the Punjab Government of the day and there are no design copyrights or patents registered.
Le Corbusier was not involved in the design of this utilitarian furniture. His involvement in the furniture for Chandigarh was restricted to the more dramatic and stand out pieces for the buildings in the Capitol Complex - The High Court, Legislative Assembly and The Secreteriat.
We have spoken to architects who were part of the Chandigarh team and academic scholars who have studied Pierre Jeanneret’s archives to learn as much as possible about the design ownership of these pieces. Even though the designs are in the public domain, we respect the Intellectual Property of the designers and wherever design attribution has been established, we try to contact the designers or their heirs and establish a licensing relationship.