Set of 10 chairs, model ’62’. Edition Charron, 1962. Chromed metal, foam and fabric. Photo courtesy of Galerie Pascal Cuisinier.
“I consider design to be wanted, determined, thoughtful and assertive”, René-Jean Caillette (1919-2005)
René-Jean Caillette, the son of an ebeniste and graduate in 1937 of the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Appliqués, was a pioneer of modern French design. With a focus on simplicity of line and functionality, and with the aim to make modern design accessible to everyone, Caillette’s goal was to create quality mass production furniture. One of his aims was to create signed furniture which would be sold at the same price in all of France. He was one of the founders of ACMC (l’Association des Créateurs de Mobilier de Série) which defended the rights of this budding movement. He experimented with new materials which became available at the time such as plywood, stainless steel, rattan and perspex. His work is characterized by clean, taut lines and rigorous shapes.
Sylvie table, Charron edition, 1961. Rio rosewood and chromed metal. This model was presented at the Salon des Arts Ménagers in 1961. Photo courtesy of Galerie Pascal Cuisinier.
Caillette was very active in design circles in Paris in the 1940s and 50s. In 1949 he organized a prestigious exhibition between the rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré and the rue Royale in Paris. It gathered together young designers who became known as the group Saint Honoré. This movement created solidarity and cohesion and created a focus for the designers. And in 1954, together with George Charron, a French furniture manufacturer, Caillette formed ‘Groupe 4’ with fellow designers Alain Richard, Genevieve Dangles and Joseph André Motte.
Coccinelle stacking chairs for Steiner, 1957