The enthusiastic, progressive atmosphere of the 1960s and Pierre Paulin's sculptural training were influential factors in the design of the Ribbon Chair.
The curving loops of its shape, covered in colorful upholstery fabrics or psychedelic patterns by Jack Lenor Larsen, give it a captivating, futuristic appeal. Pierre Paulin himself interpreted the Ribbon Chair as a "coup de pied ? la lune". A famous advertisement shows the Ribbon Chair on a runway with a jet taking off above it. The seat, backrest and armrests of the chair have a unified metal frame that is completely covered with foam upholstery and stretch fabric. The seat is mounted on a lacquered pedestal made of pressed wood. The de-velopment of the Ribbon Chair was facilitated by technological innovations during the Sixties, which led to the production of inexpensive synthetic foams. This period also saw the introduction of novel elastic fabrics that could be used to envelop a complex contoured shape without folds or intricate seams. The biomorphic, slightly resilient seat of the Ribbon Chair allows a wide variety of sitting positions and provides a high degree of seating comfort.
- Bent tubular steel frame, foam padding covered with two-way stretch fabric, lacquered pedestal made of form-pressed plywood, plastic glides
- Height: 13.2 cm / 5 1/8 inch
- Width: 17.1 cm / 6 3/4 inch
- Depth: 10.4 cm / 4 1/8 inch
- Each miniature is packaged in a wooden box, accompanied by an informational booklet.
- Each of the delicate objects are made by hand; on average, each miniature requires five hours of careful manual work. Ongoing quality control ensures that every miniature corresponds to its larger original in terms of finishing, details and materials.
Twenty years ago the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein began making miniature replicas of the great milestones in furniture design housed in its collection. A summary of the history of industrial furniture design – moving from the historic and art nouveau to the new Bauhaus’ radical design, and from postmodernism all the way up until the present day – the collection has grown to include more than 100 pieces. The chairs are all one sixth of the size of the originals. They are all true to scale and replicate the originals right down to the smallest details in construction, material and color.
Vitra Miniatures Ribbon Chair Designed by:
- Pierre Paulin , 1966
France, 1927 - 2009
Pierre Pauling was a French furniture designer and interior designer. His uncle Georges Paulin was a part-time automobile designer and invented the mechanical retractible hardtop. He was later executed by the Nazi's in 1941 as a hero of the French Resistance. After failing his Baccalauréat, he trained to become a ceramist in Vallaurius on the French Rivera and then as a stone-carver in Burgundy. Soon after, he injured his right arm in a fight, ending his dreams as a sculptor but attend the Ecole Camondo in Paris. He had a stint with the Gascoin company in Le Havre where he gained an interest in Scandinavian and Japanese design. He was famed for his innovative work with Artifort in the 1960s and interior design in the 70's.
At the time, his chair designs were considered very modern and unique and kick started the successes of his designs among the younger population. Even today, his pieces are still being made and are sought after at auctions.
Pierre Paulin had his debut exhibition at the Salon des arts ménagers in 1953. Afterwards, his would appear on the cover of the magazine La Maison Française. A year later he would be employed by the Thonet company and began experimenting with stretching swimwear materials over traditionally made chairs. Around 4 years later he would join the Maastricht-based Dutch manufacturers Artifort. Working at Artifort he would become famous worldwide with his Mushroom chair (1960). At his time working for Artifort, Paulin quoted "It represented the first full expression of my abilities. I considered the manufacture of chairs to be rather primitive and I was trying to think up new processes" he said in 2008, he worked with foams and rubbers from Italy all worked around a light metallic frame. He would then use a new stretch material over the chair. His designs were focused on applied design rather than focusing on form with comfort as his chair's starting-point. The combination of these materials made Paulin's chair designs made rounder, and comfortable shapes that are still being used in chairs today.
During the 70's and 80's he was invited to decorate and furnish several important places for important people. He redecorated the living, dining, smoking and exhibition rooms of the Elysée's private apartments for Pompidou in 1971. In 1983 he furnished the office of François Mitterrand. In 1979 he launched his own consultancy and worked for Calor, Ericsson, Renault, Saviem, Tefal, Thomson and Airbus.In 1994 he would retire to the Cévennes in southern France but would still continue on designing furniture. He died on the 13th of June, 2009 in a hospital in Montpellier, France.