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More Chairs at Sea?

July 14th 2023

Following on from our ‘In the Navy’ blog we take a closer look at other famous chairs that were believed to have taken to the sea. The ocean liner SS Normandie was a French boat that entered service in 1935. It was the largest and fastest passenger ship of the time. SS Normandie was super quick and could cross the Atlantic in a record 4.14 days.

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Xavier Pauchard was born in 1880, a French boilermaker and the creator of Tolix the furniture brand. Better known for designing a whole range of stamped metal furniture, Pauchard had the idea of installing the now famous ‘A chair’ on board SS Normandie during her maiden voyage in 1935. It’s rumoured that the A Chair, known as the Marais A Chair today, along with Armchair C furnished the center of the firefighters on board. The maiden voyage generated enormous media coverage and it will come as no surprise that Pauchard was almost certainly keen to cash in and why not!

Extremely popular since 1934, the A Chair was one the first of Pauchard’s chair collection. It is robust and stackable and has become a cult object. The A Chair is bent, welded, stamped and has a curved backrest. The chair is stackable because of the leg design. The Tolix H45 stool is a stool version of the A & C Chairs. Today’s eye catching A Chair alternatives are just that, eye catching versions of the originals inspired by the designs of the great man himself. Xavier’s son, Jean Pauchard, modified the A Chair in 1956 and it became known as the A56 Chair.

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French art historian Serge Lemoine says “one cannot describe Pauchard as an architect, designer or artist. He was simply a manufacturer, one who made practical items that would sell. And it is therein that lies the talent of these Pioneers: They were able to listen to the market, and respond to it.”

Whatever we see Xavier Pauchard and the Tolix brand as, it can’t be argued that the design of these iconic chairs has stood the test of time. The inspired versions of today are also available in a range of colours which complement the traditional metal finishes of yesteryear.

And finally, have a look at our video case study which showcases the colourful Tolix inspired chairs.

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