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Model A Chair
Iconic Designs

Model A Chair

About the Design

The brainchild of French metalworker Xavier Pauchard (1880–1948), the Tolix Model A chair revolutionized café spaces and kitchens around the world. And it began with a process for protecting sheet metal.

As a young roofer in rural France in 1907, Pauchard devised a way to prevent sheet metal from rusting. He discovered that he could coat a sheet of steel or iron with a durable protective layer by immersing it in molten zinc. This process, called galvanization, played a significant role in the creation of Pauchard’s much-admired chair — as well as in his career as an innovative furniture maker — in the decades that followed. 

Pauchard learned the nuances of working with zinc from his father and grandfather, who were both roofers in France’s Le Morvan region, where he grew up surrounded by woodlands, lakes and traditional farms. He joined the family business but left in 1917 to pursue furniture production.

Pauchard opened a small factory on the outskirts of Autun, in Burgundy, where he began manufacturing assorted metal furnishings for the home: stools, tables and chairs. Initially, Pauchard made each piece by hand, hammering and shaping the metal before dipping it in molten zinc to galvanize it. He eventually trademarked the name Tolix.

The first Model A chair was designed in the mid-1920s and featured Pauchard’s cleverly (and effectively) placed signature: a pair of crossed bars — forming an X for the maker’s first initial — placed beneath the seat to support it.

Pauchard created his high-backed galvanized-steel chair with the outdoors in mind: The first version featured holes in the seat to allow rainwater to drain through. It was lightweight and designed to be easily stacked, for restaurant use.

Things didn’t go smoothly at first. The chairs that Tolix sold to cafés all over Paris in the company’s first five years didn’t stack properly. Tolix recalled them, and the company nearly closed as a result. Pauchard spent the next few years tweaking and adjusting his design, eventually coming up with a slimmer version in 1934 known as the Marais A chair, which Tolix guaranteed could be stacked 25 seats high. The design has not changed since. And still to this day, it takes 100 manual operations to make a single chair.

The Model A chair moved from cafés to hospitals and public parks, even becoming a fixture on the decks of transatlantic luxury liners, including the famed French S.S. Normandie, in the 1930s.

Tolix remained in the Pauchard family until 2004, when it was bought by its financial director, Chantal Andriot. Its pieces continue to be made in Autun.

Xavier Pauchard A Chair

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Tolix A Chair Perforated Outdoor Painted in White
By Xavier Pauchard, Tolix
Located in Shakopee, MN
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, TOLIX®'s authentic a chair is an icon of industrial design. It is part of the collections in the Vitra Museum, Moma, Pompidou Center as well as in...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Side Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Tolix A Chair Indoor Painted in Black
By Xavier Pauchard, Tolix
Located in Shakopee, MN
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, TOLIX®'s authentic a chair is an icon of industrial design. It is part of the collections in the Vitra Museum, Moma, Pompidou Center as well as in the renowned architect Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Side Chairs

Materials

Steel

Tolix A Chair Perforated Outdoor Painted in Graphite
By Xavier Pauchard, Tolix
Located in Shakopee, MN
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, TOLIX®'s authentic A chair is an icon of industrial design. It is part of the collections in the Vitra Museum, Moma, Pompidou Center as well as in...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Side Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Tolix A Chair Perforated Outdoor Painted in Black
By Xavier Pauchard, Tolix
Located in Shakopee, MN
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, a chair is an icon of industrial design. It is part of the collections in the Vitra Museum, Moma, Pompidou Center as w...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Side Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Tolix A Chair Indoor Painted in Chili
By Xavier Pauchard, Tolix
Located in Shakopee, MN
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, TOLIX®'s authentic a chair is an icon of industrial design. It is part of the collections in the Vitra Museum, Moma, Pompidou Center as well as in the renowned architect Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Side Chairs

Materials

Steel

Tolix A Chair Perforated Outdoor Painted in Chili
By Xavier Pauchard, Tolix
Located in Shakopee, MN
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, a chair is an icon of industrial design. It is part of the collections in the Vitra Museum, Moma, Pompidou Center as w...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Side Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Tolix A Chair Indoor Painted in Graphite
By Xavier Pauchard, Tolix
Located in Shakopee, MN
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, TOLIX®'s authentic A chair is an icon of industrial design. It is part of the collections in the Vitra Museum, Moma, Pompidou Center as well as in the renowned architect Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Side Chairs

Materials

Steel

Tolix A Chair Indoor Painted in White
By Xavier Pauchard, Tolix
Located in Shakopee, MN
- Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, authentic A chair is an icon of industrial design. It is part of the collections in the Vitra Museum, Moma, Pompidou Center as well as in the renowned architect Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Side Chairs

Materials

Steel

Tolix A Chair Outdoor Painted in Graphite
By Xavier Pauchard, Tolix
Located in Shakopee, MN
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, a chair is an icon of industrial design. It is part of the collections in the Vitra Museum, Moma, Pompidou Center as w...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Side Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Tolix A Chair Outdoor Painted in White
By Xavier Pauchard, Tolix
Located in Shakopee, MN
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, a chair is an icon of industrial design. It is part of the collections in the Vitra Museum, Moma, Pompidou Center as well as in the renowned architect Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Side Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Set of Six Rare Authentic French "Model A" Tolix Chairs in Original Blue Paint
By Xavier Pauchard, Tolix
Located in Woodbury, CT
This wonderful set of six Tolix Model A metal dining chairs is in excellent condition and features its original lovely dark blue paint with a bit of surface rusting. Originally designed in 1934 by the founder of Tolix, Xavier Pauchard, this chair became a huge hit with bistros in France because of its design and durability (it was the first furniture dipped in molten zinc to withstand rusting). The original Model A chair was modified in 1956 to improve the chairs’ stacking feature, and the original back slat design was changed from a flat panel to one with an embossed design. These chairs with their flat back panel pre-date 1956 and are much more rare than those with an embossed back. Such is the iconic status of the Model A chair that examples are on display in New York’s Museum of Modern Art and Paris’s Pompidou Centre. Model A chairs make an exceptional design statement but are also a good and very comfortable practical choice as dining chairs for regular use. Perfect around a rustic wooden dining table...
Category

Mid-20th Century French Industrial Chairs

Materials

Steel

A-Chair Indoor in White by Xavier Pauchard and Tolix, US
By Xavier Pauchard, Tolix
Located in Shakopee, MN
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, the A-chair met with worldwide success from the beginning. It has been imitated but never equaled! Before becoming part of the collections at the Vitra Museum, the MOMA, the Pompidou Centre and the highly renowned architect Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye, the A-chair was part of ""Le Normandie...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Chairs

Materials

Steel

A-Chair Indoor in Black by Xavier Pauchard & Tolix, US
By Xavier Pauchard, Tolix
Located in Shakopee, MN
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, the A-chair met with worldwide success from the beginning. It has been imitated but never equaled! Before becoming part of the collections at the Vitra Museum, the MOMA, the Pompidou Centre and the highly renowned architect Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye, the A-chair was part of "Le Normandie" ocean liner’s furniture in 1935, lined café patios and equipped hospitals, the American army and cities before settling in private homes. Still manufactured by hand in Burgundy in our workshop, just as with all of our furniture, the A-chair remains an icon in today’s design world. Available in steel for the Tolix Maison version, in stainless steel for the Tolix Outdoor...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Chairs

Materials

Steel

A-Chair Indoor in Chilli Pepper by Xavier Pauchard & Tolix, US
By Xavier Pauchard, Tolix
Located in Shakopee, MN
Created in 1927 by Xavier Pauchard, the A-chair met with worldwide success from the beginning. It has been imitated but never equaled! Before becoming part of the collections at the Vitra Museum, the MOMA, the Pompidou Centre and the highly renowned architect Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye, the A Chair was part of "Le Normandie" ocean liner’s furniture in 1935, lined café patios and equipped hospitals, the American army and cities before settling in private homes. Still manufactured by hand in Burgundy in our workshop, just as with all of our furniture, the A-chair remains an icon in today’s design world. Available in steel for the Tolix Maison version, in stainless steel for the Tolix Outdoor...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary French Chairs

Materials

Steel

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More Xavier Pauchard Designs
Xavier Pauchard A Chair
Xavier Pauchard A Chair
Average Price
$752
Number Available
14
Xavier Pauchard A Chair
Materials
Metal, Steel, Stainless Steel
The brainchild of French metalworker Xavier Pauchard (1880–1948), the Tolix Model A chair revolutionized café spaces and kitchens around the world. And it began with a process for protecting sheet metal. As a young roofer in rural France in 1907, Pauchard devised a way to prevent sheet metal from rusting. He discovered that he could coat a sheet of steel or iron with a durable protective layer by immersing it in molten zinc. This process, called galvanization, played a significant role in the...
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