Imagine yourself on the French Riviera (Côte d’Azur,), sunning yourself along the Promenade des Anglais, under a wide-brimmed hat, while you sip a latte in a rattan armchair. Now mentally travel the hundred miles to Paris proper, sporting a striped shirt with the nonchalant elegance of Charlotte Gainsbourg, while imbibing un petit cafe.
My current obsession? The European woven cafe chair, the hallmark of the Parisian café life for over a century. The butts of Matisse, Stein, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Sartre, Piaf and Picasso all sat in the romantic recliners. Each chair is a sculptural piece!A rustic Brentwood, Los Angeles kitchen from Tim Barber LTD Architecture & Interior Design, inside a Spanish Colonial home. House Beautiful, photograph by Thomas Loof. An eclectic dining room, including a gallery wall, ikat chairs, and a killer antique chandler, in Washington, DC by Sara Tuttle Interiors.
The chair was originally designed by Michael Thonet and introduced all the way back in 1859. Traditional French cafe furniture had its heyday from the 1930s to the 1950s, and often continue to be handcrafted by skilled artisans using techniques passed down from generation to generation. Somehow, the crispy geometric designs exist in a world that is simultaneously vintage yet, contemporary.
An eclectic dining room in Chicago, Illinois featuring the Bentwood chair as designed by Thonet. The vintage chairs were Craigslist finds. Photography by Cynthia Lynn Photography. From the Riviera Collection by Serena & Lily. A traditional dining room in Los Angeles by William Hefner Architecture Interiors & Landscape. The arched doorway and complimentary vases add to the peaceful flair.
Look closely and you’ll notice the wonderfully organic marks created while bending and stretching the rattan into shape – a time-honored technique perfected by the French. A chic mix of navy and white makes it at home practically anywhere, even in the green grass!A modern, calm and crisply white interior via EST Magazine via Decor8. A Martha’s Vineyard Cottage Dining Room by Schranghamer Design Group. The home is mere steps from the beach, and includes painted timber framing, antique windows, and views of the Atlantic Ocean. C’est magnifique!