In the eyes of Alban Ferrari: the CM194 Armchair by Pierre Paulin

A true aficionado of the 1950s modernism, Alban Ferrari has made the work of Pierre Paulin a real hobbyhorse and speaks to us about these achievements with such fervor that neophytes would almost become specialists. This week, discover the CM194 through the eyes of 'Alban ...


"Pierre Paulin (1927-2009)
Pierre Paulin is one of the great French designers of the second half of the 20th century and was also the subject of a retrospective at the Center Pompidou in 2016. He began his work at the beginning of the 1950s, in parallel with Pierre Guariche or Joseph-André Motte and his philosophy in his furniture design consists of offering "useful things for the greatest number". He therefore created for the middle class and became interested, quite quickly, in seats.

Mainly edited by Thonet in the 1950s, his work flourishes with Miss Van Der Rohe's “less is more” .The CM141 desk, which I have already presented, is a perfect example: simplicity and modernity. I like to talk about fatherhood between the modernists of the 1920s and 30s and the generation of young French designers of the 1950s, true heirs of the Union des Artistes Modernes (UAM).

From the 1960s, Pierre Paulin worked mainly for Artifort, a Dutch publisher and subsequently made arrangements for the Elysée Palace under Georges Pompidou in the 1970s and then certain parts of François Mitterrand's personal office in the 1980s ... His period of creation therefore extends over a long period, something unusual for a French designer of the time. Over the years, Paulin has been able to reinvent himself and adapt his style, fixing each decade of pieces that have become iconic In 1960, he has also received the René Gabriel award, THE French award for furniture designers.

Very sensitive to modernism, I inevitably developed a great interest in Paulin, one of the central figures of the 1950s. In my opinion, his furniture designs perfectly summarize the utilitarian side and the minimalist aspect of this movement. to find, at a minimum, one copy of each of Pierre Paulin's works from the 1950s


The CM194, a pioneering and transitory model
Released in 1959, the CM194 low chair is a very important model in the history of Pierre Paulin's work which marks the perfect transition between his creations of the 50s and 60s. Its specificity: the metal structure is covered with a specially designed prefabricated fabric to encompass metal like "a sock that you put on". Very focused on the technicality of textiles, Paulin has indeed developed a whole research on fabrics for his models. He will also continue to develop and exploit this technique at Artifort, which will inspire many other designers and will open the door to the more rounded shapes qualifying the 60s.

Avant-garde in its desire to erase the superfluous and hide the structure in order to enhance the comfortable and utilitarian aspect of the seat, the CM194 low chair is therefore a precursor model in the minimalist reflection of the designer Edited by Thonet France, it bears a name specific, specific to the publisher. Indeed, only Thonet integrates the nomenclature "CM" before its serial numbers The numbers follow one another according to the creation chronology.


An upholsterer has completely restored the low chairs and my choice fell on the yellow Tonus fabric from the Danish brand Kvadrat. Beyond representing hope, yellow was named color of the year by Pantone magazine.It is a color that I particularly like and which was also widely used at the time (see advertising archive). fabric embraces eras, between respect for the initial realization of the model and contemporary trend… ”


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