The original Tolix chair was designed in 1934 by Xavier Pauchard. Legend has it that the chairs were originally for use on a battleship, but soon they were distributed to bars around France as a promotion by breweries. In the '50s, Pauchard's son designed the version with arms, changing only the proportions of the original.
Stackable and hearty, these chairs manage to be both austerely functional and full of personality. You can find the reissued classics at DWR and Pottery Barn, among other places. If you're looking for a slight variation, Tolix recently issued a perforated collection designed by Normal Studio. Anthropologie makes a copper-toned spinoff, and Viva Terra makes an eco-friendly version out of recycled metal.
4 Sköna Hem
7 The Diversion Project
8 Vintage Tolix available at Antiquaires
9 Redsmith dining chairs available at Anthropologie
10 Recycled metal Eco Bistro chairs from Viva Terra
Sources: Tolix originals are available at Design Within Reach ($250 for the Marais A, $275 for the A56), Pottery Barn (currently on sale for $199), the Conran shop ($250.75), and the Sundance Catalog ($245).
Antiquaire, a Chicago-area store, can deliver Tolix chairs in over 200 custom colors, including some gorgeous finishes you can see on the website. They are also the sole US distributor of the perforated versions. Antiquaire is also a reliable source for vintage Tolix, including image 8 above.