Bibendum

Written by Sarah Provost
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The Bibendum chair was a one-of-a-kind item designed in 1929 by the noted designer Eileen Gray and now in licensed production. Its plump seat cushion is surmounted by two soft, curved tubes of leather that create the integrated back and arms. One look at it and you can see why it was named after Bibendum, the cartoon mascot of the Michelin tire company.

The Bibendum Chair Combines Comfort and Style

Sitting in a Bibendum chair is like sinking into a cloud. Yet it is a cloud supported by stainless steel tubing, finished with a three-layer chroming process for ultimate shine and durability. The cushions of an authentic Bibendum chair are made of hand-pieced leather, with no vinyl anywhere. While some very stylish contemporary designs are more beautiful than they are livable, this piece gives you the best of both worlds.

Eileen Gray was a contemporary of Joyce, Corbusier, Beckett, Dali, Picasso and Oscar Wilde. She was born in Ireland and attended the Slade School of Arts in London, but spent most of her working life in Paris, where she gained fame as a painter, designer and architect. Her early work in lacquer arts influenced her deeply, and color became a primary focus of her aesthetic.

In reaction against the flowing lines and decoration of the current style of Art Nouveau, Gray pared things down to their essential lines, then used her extraordinary color sense to make them spectacular. Today, her work is displayed in museums worldwide. Through licensed production, her Bibendum chair and other flights of genius are available to a wider public.


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