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Xavier Pauchard is a French metal worker, a visionary entrepreneur and the founder of Tolix and the inventor of the Chaise A (Chair A). It’s the end of World War I: Xavier is in Autun, Burgundy, the green lung of France.
Surrounded by trees, leaves and wood, Xavier is moving upstream and successfully experimenting steel galvanisation. At the beginning he tested it on home accessories, then, in 1927, he patented the name Tolix and started to produce metal chairs, stools and furniture. Stainless, robust and light furniture to use indoor or outdoor. In 1953, listening to the advice of restaurant owners (user experience d'antan) he modified the chairs in order to make it perfectly stackable: 25 chairs per column.
Tolix is the French brand of the steel chairs, stools and furniture, the brand that invented the Chaise A, the one on display at the MOMA of New York and at the Centre Pompidou of Paris, the chair piled in front of every bar in the Seventies.
Let’s go back to our days. Spring, Friday night: you invite six friends of yours for a dinner on the terrace. They show up in 25. Your reputation as an excellent chef and host has messed your plans up, but you like challenges: all the guests must sid down somewhere. But where can you find 25 chairs?
In your storage closet. Well yes, you have 25 chairs in the storage closet. Only a functional design can make you a perfect master of the house, and tonight it’s Tolix design. One on top of the other there are 25 Tolix chairs in your storage closet, in an astonishing column of galvanised metal a little more than 2 metres high. Twenty-five bewildered friends, sitting in the terrace: there’s no space to move nor food for everyone, but you won the challenge.
Reducing Tolix design to industrial aesthetics is like describing a Ferrari like “a red car”. Tolix furniture is an excellent example of industrial design, but it’s also way more than that.
100 passages: this is the measure of the artisanal quality that the French factory has maintained until today, after the leadership of Pauchard’s family and, in 2004, its revival thanks to Chantal Andriot, the former financial director who fell in love with the brand. Andriot brought new energy to Tolix, and a lot of colour: 50 different tints. Tolix products are curated in every single detail, they are comfortable and absolutely timeless.
These are the three main features that made their success, also because it’s impossible to get rid of a Tolix chair. Galvanised steel, carefully processed and painted, is resistant to anything: time, bad weather and also transportation.
Among all the chairs designed by artisans, artists and architects, the Chair A has a unique and almost embarrassing quality: you will want to put it on the table, instead of under it.
The sense of lightness is the first aspect of Tolix design which made it possible to spread its products worldwide: it generates that uncontrollable urge to that makes you want to put the chairs on the table because it originates from the feeling that you could lift them with one finger. The second aspect are the curved lines, enhanced by steel and put at the service of the surrounding environment.
There are not many design icons that, wherever they are, seem to be designed exactly for that place. Chair A is one of those.
A room with panelled ceiling, the private room at the first floor of a café, a glass structure in the nature, a savage garden or a well-cared one, a urban terrace and a futuristic salle de bain: wherever they are, Tolix chairs and stools seem to be born to decorate that piece of the world
They celebrate the lightness of nature, they frame the wooden furniture and give a touch of personality to a minimal decor. There’s no place where these design objects are not at ease. This was the challenge and Tolix is the huge big win of Xavier Pauchard.
You have four friends coming for dinner in the weekend? Are you sure there will be only four of them? Don’t worry, it’s never too late to become a LOVEThESIGN Master of the House.