Modern Classics: The Tolix Cafe Chair

You may not have known what to call them, but chances are, if you've been to many restaurants with outdoor seating, you've seen these chairs. The Tolix cafe chair, also known as the Marais A chair, is positively everywhere. It inhabits patios and formal dining rooms alike, aging gracefully and impressing with its timeless style.

Metalworker Xavier Pauchard, who brought the process of steel galvanizing to France, created the Marais A chair in 1934. Originally intended to be used in factories or ships, the chairs soon began to appear in cafes all over the country, which perhaps helps to explain why the design seems to have a certain essential Frenchiness. But beyond the fact that they conjures up images of sipping wine at an outdoor cafe on some lovely boulevard, these chairs have an honest, almost rustic appeal. They're strong, hardwearing, look even better with a little bit of rust, and speak to their creator's knowledge of, and appreciation for, the humble medium of sheet metal.

Like many other modern classics, the Tolix chairs are equally at home in very traditional or very modern settings. The galvanized versions, paired with a rustic table, have a distinctly industrial vibe; the same chairs are sleek and elegant paired with a modern dining table. You can even mix up different colors for a pop-art vibe.

TOP ROW:
1. On a city balcony, from Lonny.
2. Multi-colored Tolix chairs make a colorful, happy statement. Bolig via Dear Designer.
3. White Tolix armchairs, softened up with a sheepskin. Via Apartment Therapy.
4. In a Brooklyn home from Design*Sponge.
5. In an all-white office. Holly Becker via Flatmaids.

MIDDLE ROW:
6. The Tolix is perfect with a large round table in this elegantly modern interior from Interior Magasinet.
7. Vogue via Habitually Chic.
8. In red from The Selby.
9. Mixing these black Tolix side chairs (and a white Tolix armchair) with a wooden table and chairs makes for a modern interior with an extra bit of warmth and texture. From Skona Hem via Desire to Inspire.
10. Naharro

BOTTOM ROW:
11. In mixed bubble-gum colors, paired with some Tolix stools. House to Home via The Kitchn.
12. On the roof desk of Jim & Theresa's House on the Venice Canal.
13. In a traditional kitchen from BHG.
14. Mixed with other chairs in a charming, mismatched kitchen. From Desire to Inspire.
15. The Tolix plays nice with other, more traditional chairs in this interior from Heart Home.

(Images: as linked above)