Jacques Gondoin rose from the son of a Gardener to become one of the leading Neo-classical architects and furniture designers to the king. After studying architecture, he won third place in the Prix de Rome in 1759. In Rome he met many prominent designers and artists such as Giovanni Battista Piranesi, who greatly influenced his later work.
Upon Gondoin's return to Paris, the King, at the suggestion of his surgeon, commissioned him to design the École de Chirurgie (School of Surgery), one of the great Parisian monuments of Neo-classical architecture. In 1769 the king appointed him dessinateur du mobilier de la couronne (Furniture Designer to the Crown), a post he held for fifteen years.