"Charlotte was commissioned with the management of our furniture models together with Thonet from 1929. This project could have been brilliant, but it ended up being trashy. (Le Corbusier)
From their first meeting in Paris, Heidi Weber’s creative infatuation also revived Le Corbusier’s enthusiasm. The partners decided to extend their collaboration to include the manufacturing of certain pieces of furniture. Until this point, his prototypes had never found a buyer, as Le Corbusier had abandoned this activity in 1929 when his appeals to the manufacturing industry to mass produce his furniture fell on deaf ears.
Back in Zurich, Heidi Weber immediately began to look for premises where the furniture could be produced; luckily, she found a suitable place in the Spiegelgasse which was quite close to her own studio. These premises served as the factory for the four seat and armchair models and production began at the end of October, 1958.
Le Corbusier was impressed by Heidi Weber’s enthusiasm for his furniture and by her dynamism. Within three months of receiving the blueprints, she was able to invite him to view the first serial models. Rather than rough prototypes, she was able to show him the first production run of twenty-five of each of the four models which had all been produced in her little workshop. Le Corbusier was surprised and excited, his only recommended correction was a hardly noticeable shortening of the front armsupports of the “Dos Basculant”.
Le Corbusier signed the first contract for the production rights with Heidi Weber on December 1st, 1959. This was after he had written to her a few months previously: “I will sign a contract with you, but, first of all, I want a proof of your capability.” With this first contract he granted her the rights for Europe and the USA for three years. On January 1st, 1963, the same contract was ratified, extending the period to fifteen years to 1978. This time including the rights for South America.
The Production run smoothly and sales were extremely successful – orders were coming in from New York, Hong Kong and from other parts of the world – so much so that Heidi Weber was forced to make an important decision. Her small workshop was working to full capacity and she would not really be able to meet the steady increase of worldwide demand. At this point, she was forced to choose whether she wanted to stay in the furniture business or whether she would prefer to outsource her production and sublicense it to a well established furniture production company.