100 french seats 1951-1961

06/09/2014 - 06/10/2014

Galerie Pascal Cuisinier’s latest exhibition will be devoted to innovative French chair designs of the 1950s. This was a time when numerous technical advances were making waves in the world of chair design. The exhibition will be spread across Galerie Pascal Cuisinier and the J-M Wilmotte exhibition space, marking the first time that this space, owned by t!he J-M Wilmotte architectural practice, has hosted a ‘non in-house’ exhibition.

Tubular metal legs, flat springs, latex foam, elastic straps and completely new approaches to upholstering in wool or synthetic materials first appeared at the beginning of the 1950s. A seat with a wooden structure, straps, horsehair stuffing and vertical, mattress-style springs give a very different shape and look compared to a chair featuring a foam seat on flat springs. These changes marked one of the most radical departures from tradition ever seen in the history of furniture design. André Monpoix’s ‘banquette’ encapsulates these developments beautifully. It was undoubtedly one of the first such designs in France to use flat springs to such elegant effect, creating an extremely slim seat and a b!eautifully balanced backrest to produce a design offering unparalleled levels of comfort.

This was a time when the rule book for modern chair design was simply ripped up and thrown away: one-piece chair designs appeared and armchairs became more visually daring and imposing. Industrial standardization and techniques of mass production opened the door to creating basic design components which could be fitted to corners or curved sections to create low sofas, or armrests which would turn a low chair into an armchair. In fact, the forerunner of the modern-day sofa was first created at this time: a very simple rectangular form with armrests added to a low sofa and a seat and backrest that were practically identical. Finally, the famous sofa-bed appeared and proved a tremendous s!uccess with the general public.

Galerie Pascal Cuisinier has been collecting chairs for several years now. It has gathered together some one hundred different designs, creating a showcase for the full spectrum of design and technical innovations characteristic of this period. This major collection of chairs, low chairs, armchairs, low sofas will be on display to the public, encompassing the creations of the most avant-garde designers of their time. Some designs are extremely rare, such as Pierre Guariche’s glued-laminated wood armchair, the G10 model, with wood armrests and a sofa by Caillette, not to forget some very unusual low chair designs by the ARP (the chauffeuses 640). The original (and often-imitated) Papyrus chair by Pierre Guariche, a set of virtually unobtainable Amsterdam chairs with wooden legs and original woven leather design, and the very first version of the ‘Corb’ armchair designed by the ARP, a ‘museum’ version, will also be on show.