Among the items on Ligne Roset's vast stand at Maison & Objet last month, it might have been easy to overlook the modestly scaled and quietly elegant Curule folding chair. But that would have meant missing a beautifully made re-edition of one of the late 20th century's iconic pieces of furniture. An archetypal piece of design, characterised by its x-shaped base, the curule chair dates from ancient times, when it was a seat of honour reserved for prominent and powerful people.
Creating his contemporary, folding version in 1982, Pierre Paulin - a pioneer of the Modern movement - refined it to its essentials, doing away with embellishments to capture the very essence of the form. It is this simplicity that makes the chair timeless yet utterly contemporary, the purity of form that emphasises the quality of materials and finish. First produced as a prototype for the Mobilier National (the French national furniture collection), Paulin's chair was taken into the permanent collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris in 1983. It was made as a limited edition by the designer's eponymous company before being put into production by Artcurial in 1988. Those originals are now prized collectors' items.
Ligne Roset's 2009 re-edition of the chair, in natural beech and black-tinted beech - rather than the original light sycamore and amaranth wood - will be available this summer, priced at around 1,200 (Dh5,560). www.ligneroset.com