This Is The One Chair You Want In Your Home
Furniture Marolles reinvented the original, mid-century chair.
It's no coincidence that Ariel Clay and her father Ed both work in design — interior design, to be specific. The father-daughter duo have an inherent, keen eye for furniture, and when they came across the original Marolles chair (only 100 were produced originally in the 1950s), they knew they had to share the minimalist work of art. The timeless, wooden seat was first created by artist and sculptor Jean Touret. His first chair was created without back, as a milking stool for his neighbor. Now, with the permission and approval of his family, the Clays have taken this seat to the next level with their design studio Furniture Marolles. Read ahead for details of their inspiration and modern works.
Lonny: What led to the fruition of Furniture Marolles?
Ariel Clay: "We came across the inspiration to revive the Marolles Chair when the saw an original three years ago in San Francisco at FOG Fair. The chair was originally produced in the 1950s by Atelier Marolles, a cooperative founded by Jean Touret in Marolles France."
"We loved the simple lines and primitive form, and immediately contacted the Touret family for approval of a project to expand the chair collection. We wanted to create pieces that would function in modern times, including a four-leg counter stool and bar stool version, all the while remaining faithful to the spirit and detail of the work of Atelier Marolles and Jean Touret."
Lonny: Can you tell us about the team behind the new project?
AC: "Furniture Marolles is the collaboration between father and daughter, Ed and myself. Ed has been designing and making custom furniture in the Carneros region of California wine country for over 40 years, while I've been on the front end of the New York design world for the past seven years working with top brands such as BDDW Ceramics, UHURU Furniture & Collectibles, and Apparatus Studio. We felt like it was time to combine our skills and knowledge of the industry!"
Lonny: What makes the Marolles chair special?
AC: "With fewer than 100 originally made, this chair is one of the last remaining unknown gems of the mid-century furniture era. These chairs are meant to be practical, useful and timeless — they feel familiar, yet classic and find a home in residential, hotel and restaurant spaces."
Lonny: How do you pay homage to that original make?
AC: "Now being handmade by artisans in California (and soon Mexico and Nicaragua for larger orders) in American White Oak, you will notice the same fine details reminiscent of the first Marolles chairs — the carved seat, shaped legs, steel staples and perfect proportions. We are honored to have the support of the Touret family in our efforts to bring to this chair the recognition it deserves."
Lonny: What do these pieces of furniture offer that others don't?
AC: "The Marolles Chair is crafted using centuries-old methods that leave evidence of the maker's hand. Yet, the proportions and refinement of line and form identify a modern-era designer. Thus, the chair will always be seen as current and historic and both. In the true sense of the word – timeless!"
Lonny: What's the best way to style the Marolles chair?
AC: "This chair can fit into any scene! We love how Studio Shamshiri styled it in their new Hollywood offices and the way Yolande Batteau of Callidus Guild has it in her rustic upstate New York house. Other clients have used it by the entry door as a place to take off shoes, or by the fire to sit comfortably and warm up. I have the three-leg chair in my bedroom as a catch all for clothes and blankets. Ed has a barstool in the kitchen and various prototype versions of the chair all around his large 12 seat dining table. We also have few exciting restaurant projects opening soon with the bar stools! In truth, the chair's design can work in modern, minimal, eclectic and rustic settings easily."
To see the entire Furniture Marolles collection, click here.