Never has a brand been quite so defined by one product. As Tolix itself states ‘The model A chair has become an icon of industrial aesthetics’. Designed by Xavier Pauchard in 1934, the chair is still made today in France. Tolix has a very rich heritage and continues to innovate although sadly the classic A chair has been copied all over the world.
This is our roll call of the ‘Makers’ that inspire us. It’s a working list that we are building. On this page we concentrate on furniture and lighting.
Founded in 1934 this Dutch artisan company is famous for its iconic chairs. You will have sat on them many times but perhaps without knowing they were made by hand in Holland. Most famous for the S-16 and the S-22 chairs, both metal framed with bentwood seats, the S 16 is now back in production in a collaboration with Dutch brand De Machinekamer.
Knoll was founded in 1938 by Hans Knoll a German immigrant to the USA. The company really was born when Hans met Florence Schust in the late 30’s and Florence brought the design vision and Bauhaus influence. As makers go this is one of (if not the greatest) contemporary furniture makers in history. Their archive is extraordinary and the company has remained humble to its roots. Testament to their vision is that most of their iconic designs are still in production today.
Race furniture was founded in the forties under the design direction of Ernest Race. Like many contemporary designers of this period the challenge was to create innovate contemporary designs during a period of scarce resource and post war austerity. Race’s connection with the Festival of Britain and The seating for The Royal Festival Hall established the companies credentials and they are one of the last great design led furniture makers in the UK.
In 1950 Jean Louis Domecq created Jieldé from the initials of his name J,L and D . He created his industrial lamp for his own needs, strong and articulated without cables in the corners. Still in production today despite the decline of the need for traditional industrial lighting.
Isokon (or Isokon +) has a fascinating history. Isokon was founded in 1929 to design and construct modernist houses and flats, and subsequently their furniture and fittings. In the mid twenties they commissioned Charlotte Perriand (at that time working with Le Corbusier) to design a trade fair stand for the company at Olympia. The Isokon Furniture Company was never commercially successful and collapsed with the outbreak of World War II when its supply of plywood from Estonia was cut off by to the Soviet invasion. The brand re-emerged in the sixties and is perhaps best known for its niche but beautiful plywood furniture still made in the East end of London.
For over 100 years Pastoe has been designing and making contemporary furniture in the Netherlands. Their DNA has remained consistent, well made contemporary furniture for the home with an innovative use of materials such as plywood and wire. The pieces by Cess Braakman are a stand out.