This chair is one of the original versions of the iconic "Chaise A" designed in the 1930s by Xavier Pauchard, a Burgundy artisan. Pauchard designed a complete range of galvinised steel furniture under the Tolix brand.
This metal chair came to enjoy great fortune and favour. As it was strong, stackable and hence utilitarian, it was used in crew quarters aboard the ocean liner Normandie. For over 50 years, Tolix chairs and barstools graced cafes, terraces, village halls, hospitals, barracks and the like.
Reissued in 1986, it found a new fanbase among professional designers and the general public. Designers and decorators have gone mad for its original metallic patina.
Customised versions in red, cream or green, which are sold at Conran and Graham and Greene, among other stores, often have a waiting list. Antiques dealers and collectors of 20th-century modernist furniture are busy scouring the French countryside looking for originals. They have become highly-prized symbols of la France profonde.
A book by Brigette Durieux, Inoxydable Tolix, traces the history and popularity of the Tolix chairs. The edition is in French and English. An exhibition Tolix a Beaubourg is on view at the Centre Pompidou in Paris through 2008.
The Tolix chair photographed is one of a set of six, found at Agape, Paris. The Tolix stool, with its original blue-grey paint and patina of age showing, was purchased two years ago at Agape.