Tolix Model A chairs have become one of those icons of french furniture, industrial style and cafe chic for many years. Loved by many for their stunning simplicity, manufacture and design.
It was the French visionary and pioneer of galvanisation Xavier Pauchard who came up with the design back in the 20th Century. Xavier was in charge of a busy sheet-metal factory manufacturing domestic items. Using his understanding of engineering and noticing a market for strong, affordable and durable chairs, he created the Model A chair. In 1927 his newly named TOLIX company began production of a range of chairs, armchairs, stools and metal lockers, all still available today.
The Model A Chair crafted from sheet steel is ingenious in both it’s construction, manufacture and design. The result is a chair of superb strength, unrivalled lightness, easy to maintain and affordable.
The chairs design was tweaked over the years from it’s initial launch, adding holes to let water drain away if used outside, a slightly slimmer frame so cafe owners could stack 25 chairs to a height of over 2 meters.
The Tolix factory was a family owned operation right up until 2004 when it was sold. Today the Tolix name continues in the new company Tolix Steel Design, in recognition of the contribution the brand made to French design globally the company was awarded the accolade of A Living Heritage Enterprise in 2006.
Simply an iconic French Chair.
Often chairs simply become part of the fabric of life, rarely identified by the millions of users world wide. Irrespective of this fact, some chairs somehow retain the essence of their origins, they seem to scream French or shout 1960’s. Those with an eye for that kind of detail and in need of evoking the ‘right image’ such as designers, photographers and stylists, simply know the iconic nature and the sense an item exudes. Take for instance The Paton S Chair on the cover of Vogue in the 1990’s with a young waif like Kate Moss astride it. The whole piece needed to evoke a sense of the 1960’s fashion all the while feeling fresh, the Paton chair was pivotal because of it’s iconic nature. The Model A Chair by Tolix is no different, stylist used it to evoke that french sex appeal in the 2010 Agent Provocateur Ad Campaigns. In both instances both chairs are props that amplify the image of the photographs in question. The Agent Provocateur Ad is obviously quite risky, all the same the shot would have been far different if another chair had been used. The essence the chair brings to the shot is part of what makes the shot so strong. I wonder if the model could have risked such a pose on anything other than a Tolix Model A chair. If you haven’t seen the shot in question click here (warning it’s a bit risky)
The Tolix Model A chair, it’s the design, materials and construction methods have made a truly iconic piece of french furniture. So much so it has earned a place in MOMA, The Vitra Design Museum and the Pompidou Centre
If you would like to own an original Tolix Chair the Conran Shop has a number of pieces. A new original Tolix Model A Chair retails at £200.
For cash strapped mortals such as myself you can take a look at Amazon where you could find an original Model A Chair and some in the style of the original. Remember to check the feedback rating before buying one because there’s only one Tolix Model A Chair you can sit in an Agent Provocateur pose – an original!