ISSUE 39  |  Belgian Masters

Required Reading: Vintage Industrial

September 29, 2014 3:00 PM

BY Meredith Swinehart

There’s a poetry to the spare, nothing-but-essential shapes of industrial modern furniture–which explains its popularity and proliferation of late. Forthcoming book Vintage Industrial reminds us that what is covetable today was originally designed for workers with a mandate that it be practical, affordable, and mass-produced.

Author Misha de Potestad and photographer Patrice Pascal–both longtime contributors to French Elle and Elle Decor–present a beautifully shot survey of designs made for factory and workshop between 1900 and 1950. Modern classics, from Navy chairs to Jieldé and Anglepoise lamps, are given their due–as are the names and stories behind desks, clocks, and lights you’ve likely seen countless times but know little about. 

Vintage Industrial will be out in mid-October; here’s a preview.

Photographs of the book by Meredith Swinehart for Remodelista.

Above: The Paris apartment of Italian designer Paola Navone is featured on the cover of Vintage Industrial. Hovering over her dining table is an antique Holophane globe light, first used at the entrances to Paris metro stations at the turn of the 20th century. 

Above: At left, two versions of the the Mullca school chair designed by Gaston Cavaillon. On the right, Paris store Merci–a Remodelista favorite–uses vintage Mullca chairs for seating. (For more about Merci, see Giving Thanks: Paris’s Most Exciting Shop Is Now Online.)

Above: Three versions of Xavier Pauchard’s Tolix stool and chair, from left: A Tolix stool stripped of its original paint; the Tolix Chair A, produced in 1934 and designed to be stackable; an earlier, not-yet-stackable incarnation from 1920. (Read about the latest from Tolix in our post A Classic Reimagined.)

Above: Designer Paola Navone uses vintage industrial drawers and a locker to store dishes and accessories in her Paris apartment. 

Above: The Anglepoise was the world’s first articulated lamp, designed in 1931. Like everything in this book, it was intended for industrial use but gained favor in the home. See several current versions of the Anglepoise in our Shop Section.

Above: A vintage Gras lamp painted red by an owner along the way. The caption reads: “Each layer of paint and every scrape and ding bears witness to a hardworking past.” 

Above: On the back cover: an antique dealer’s restoration workshop with a Nicolle chair and stool, first produced in 1933 and discontinued in 1990.

Vintage Industrial will be published October 14. It’s available for preorder on Amazon for $35.50.

Looking for more Required Reading? Take at look at Beautifully SmallDaily Rituals, and Living Life Beautifully