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Bibendum Chair: A Unique Piece

The bibendum chair is one of the most famous work by the Irish designer and artist Eileen Gray: it was projected and realized for the house of the famous stylist Suzanne Talbot. The house was in Rue Lota, in Paris, and the Bibendum chair was one of the first design work by Eileen Gray.

Indeed until that moment the formation of Eileen Gray and her work field, were mostly bounded to classical arts, like painting and drawing, and after advanced in floral decoration, following the classic canon of mastering Art Noveau and in lacquer, a special kind of decoration made using this material (largely spread in Japan).

Born in 1878 to an aristocratic family, Grey was exceptionally talented. She studied with a Japanese lacquer artist for years in order to perfect the painstakingly difficult technique, experimenting with colors and textures in variations on traditional Japanese inlay decoration. Still, Gray’s work was largely overlooked until late in her career. She was overshadowed by modernists like Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius as she worked without a male mentor or partner like many better-known female artists of her time.

Gray nonetheless generated an oeuvre that is gentler and more sensuous in spirit than many ofher competitors.
She was one of the first women to study at Slade School of Fine Art in London, after which she went to Paris to practise lacquer work. The armchair was one of her most successful works and a hit with critics. It set her apart as an art-deco furniture pioneer.

The Bibendum chair was projected and made by Eileen Gray (like the rest of the furniture for the house in rue lota, in Paris) in a pivotal passage moment of her artistic career: starting from  the influence of the Art Noveau, Eileen Gray become to applicate the principles of the newly borne Modernism. This change will influence her style during the next years, in a very important way.

The Bibendum chair (its name derived from “Bibendum”, the symbol of Michelin) is round and soft like the famous Tyre man, but also showed some influence from Art Noveau: its style is not the essential and linear style that is a characteristic of the next works by Eileen Gray and gave something to luxury and opulence. Sitting in the Bibendum is like wrapping oneself in an armour of soft leather. This circular pod, which comprises two rolls and a base on top of chromium-painted steel tubing, is all seat and no legs.

If you choose the Bibendum chair for your home or office, you will buy not only a comfortable and elegant armchair, with a unique style, that made this chair immediately recognizable in every style of furniture. But with the Bibendum chair you will get also a unique piece in the design history, a chair that really became an icon of the modern art. Whenever you will put the Bibendum chair, it will give a touch of elegance to every room and a modern, elegant but at the same time unique style.

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