THE SUNDAY CLASSICS: TOLIX
This weeks Sunday classics brings us a chair that has an industrial edge which make an appearance in restaurants and homes all over the world. Personally they really remind me instantly of Soho House Pizza West. Heres the low down on Xavier Pauchards Tolix Chair.
Xavier Pauchard was the designer of the first Tolix chairs. Born in 1880 in Le Morvan, France he discovered that, sheet metal could be protected from rusting by dipping it into molten zinc or galvanizing it. With this revolutionary discovery he set up a factory making steel household items. In 1927, he registered the trademark TOLIX and turned to the production of chairs, armchairs, stools and metal furniture.
The Tolix chair was manufactured in 1934 by Pauchard under the Tolix umbrella. Since then the Tolix chair has become an icon of industrial esthetics, crafted in sheet metal its solid, durable and inexpensive.
Tolix was meant to with stand all weathers which is why there are holes in the seat, to let the rain drain off. However this versatile chair made its way inside factories, offices & hospitals, as well as on cafe terraces and in public parks. In 1935, these chairs filled the aisles of the 1937 Exposition Internationale – Arts et Techniques. By the end of the 1950, Tolix with its 80 workers produced about 60,000 units annually.
The classic Tolix was re-designed in 1956 and with its more slimmer frame it was then possible to stack 25 chairs to a height of 2.3 meters. Making them great for bars, restaurants and public spaces. This prosperous company remained in the Pauchard family until 2004. Today, the chair has cult status and is part of the collections of the Vitra design collection in Weil am Rhein in Germany, the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the MoMA in New York.
Today the classic chair is manufactured with the latest technology which accompanies its numerous inherited manual processes and equipment staying true to Pauchard design .
Sir Terence Conran is one of several influential fans of this simple-looking chair, which takes around 100 manual operations to create. "Over the years, this chair has come to symbolize what I like to term democratic excellence, meaning that it's mass-produced and universally acceptable."
Original Tolix chair sell for approx £200 each. You can buy new Tolix chairs from the Conran shop. The modern chairs come in around 50 colors. However, be aware of copies. You will find online where it is simply called a “1934 Dining Chair” with no reference to the manufacturer Tolix. Obviously the Tolix stamp on the back of these chairs is missing.
Whilst I love the choice of colours that come with the new release. You really can't beat the patina and chipped paint on a vintage chair. If only it could talk to you!