The furniture pieces we restore and produce in Chandigarh are held by the public domain or privately licensed by the owner of the intellectual property.
In the case of Chandigarh, or Jeanneret Furniture, some historical understanding is required to understand the licensing. In the 1950s, it was decided that furniture would be created for public places in the city of Chandigarh. The furniture would reflect the architecture but would be adapted to local requirements and made by Indian craftsmen with locally available materials.
An office called "The Central Design Office" was set up and ran by Pierre and his team of young Indian designers and architects.
The "Chandigard Furniture" concept was set by Pierre Jeanneret; however, not all the pieces were designed by Jeanneret alone and for some pieces, it is difficult to attribute an Intellectual Property.
When Jeanneret was assigned to design furniture for Chandigarh with his cousin [architect Le Corbusier], he wanted to employ a technique that was in use in India at that time to save costs and ensure easy reproduction by 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. Overall, there are many variants of each model and there is no definitive design for any piece in particular.
•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 Secretariat.
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.