Everyone knows Tolix chairs. The ubiquitous café seating has a stout metal frame and a hollow back with a thick, exclamatory support down the center. What people don’t realize is that a few models, T37 and UD, have been out of production for years. But new owners are bringing their omnipresent chairs back to the masses with reissues in new colors and finishes.
In 2022, entrepreneurial partners Antoine Bejui and Emmanuel Diemoz took over Xavier Pauchard’s French company famous for its pressed steel designs. Tolix’s most popular model is the A chair, which has a curved backrest and splayed legs, and still dominates restaurant culture. The chairs are practical and sturdy. Their metal frames can withstand outdoor weather, bear the weight of hundreds of patio diners, and stack efficiently into a corner at closing. They are still welded by hand in Burgundy, and that craftsmanship has placed the chairs in the permanent collections at Centre Pompidou and MoMA.
With café culture deep in its third wave, it’s a great time for Tolix to re-expand in the market, serving the Millennials and Zoomers who hydrate with iced coffee. Antoine and Emmanuel searched through the archives to find the best metal chairs to reissue, and settled upon the T37 dining chair and UD armchair as their first pieces. The chairs were revealed at Villa Noailles as part of Design Parade Hyères 2023.
The T37 dining chair brought Tolix inside the home. It is a bit straighter than the A chair, keeping posture upright and elbows off the table. Though it retains its industrial aesthetic, it’s actually lighter than its counterparts, making it easy to move around the home.
The rare UD armchair, created for the University of Dijon in 1959, is a durable piece of dormitory furniture. Instead of the vertical backing, these chairs feature three horizontal stripes welded high on the hollow back. The seat, made from wood, was wrapped in blue or turquoise faux leather.
Normally silver, the brand has introduced many new finishes so that their chairs can be more versatile. These include varnished raw steel, textured matt powder-coating, and stained finish.
In addition to these reissues, Antoine and Emmanuel see the brand’s next phase as a collaborative one. They brought in Atelier Franck Durand to create a new visual identity, and created a new line of furniture, PATIO, with the late industrial designer Pauline Deltour, which will be teased later this year, and revealed fully at Maison&Objet in 2024.
With reissues in new colors and finishes, Tolix will continue their reign on functional, metal seating. They’ll dominate patios in every neighborhood, and call minimalist dining rooms home.