The Line Style in Context

The Line is a modern and personal approach to retail. We bring together carefully chosen fashion, home, and beauty items and place them in context through inspiring editorial features and intimate offline shopping experiences. The thematic, seasonal, and handpicked assortments we call Selections offer another way to explore our evolving edit of things you’ll wear, use, and treasure for years to come.

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The Object Portraits:
A Solid Foundation

The history of modern design can be told through its chairs. These ubiquitous elements not only ground people to their environments but also are among the first and most enduring reflections of technical breakthroughs, material advancements, aesthetic trends, and cultural shifts. They set the tone for a space, build the base of a home, and are worthy of close observation.

“A chair is a very difficult object,” said Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.“A skyscraper is almost easier. That is why Chippendale is famous.” Mies met the challenge with seats such as his iconic Barcelona lounge, and to this day, few architects and designers can resist trying to distill an entire design philosophy into an object made to sustain an intimate, functional dialogue with a single person.

This selection of object portraits reveals the distinctive silhouettes of four striking chairs (or chair-like elements) alongside the details that often go unnoticed: the fine finish of a curved plywood base, the otherworldly clash of organic materials, the subtle mix of metal forms selected with practical, load-bearing concerns in mind. Presented in the same light-filled loft space, the unique traits of each object shine through.

Presto Chair by Jean Louis Berthet - France 1977
Presto Chair by Jean Louis Berthet - France 1977
Presto Chair by Jean Louis Berthet - France 1977
Presto Chair by Jean Louis Berthet - France 1977

“Presto” is a fitting name for this plywood wonder, in which an upholstered curve floats atop a foundation that juts forward at a bold angle. The jauntiness of the finely finished base is no coincidence. The chair was designed by Jean-Louis Berthet for the Atelier de Recherche et de Création, a subsidiary of France’s Mobilier National that was founded in 1964 André Malraux to promote contemporary design as a statement of national pride.

Presto chair by Jean-Louis Berthet. Manufactured by KS International in 1977.

“When I first started developing this process nearly ten years ago, I did a tabletop and used brightly colored resin. It just wasn’t right somehow. It took a long time to finally figure out what I wanted—to make it look like a quartz crystal. And to this day, people ask me, ‘Is this how it grows on the tree?’ Because it looks so organic, so natural. I often joke that in Indonesia, we have crystal hanging off the trees! Obviously not, but it does look like that, because of the depth of a piece like this.”

–Andrianna Shamaris
St. Barts Cube
St. Barts Cube
St. Barts Cube

In this teak and cracked resin cube from Andrianna Shamaris, two organic materials are brought together for an effect that is simultaneously natural and otherworldly. The process begins with carefully selected pieces of old wood, salvaged teak gathered by Shamaris in her studio in Sumatra, Indonesia.“Old wood has got so many different tones to it—greys and golds—and natural crevices,” she says. “When filled with cracked resin of a certain thickness, the result resembles a quartz crystal. These pieces are like little jewels.”

Teak and cracked resin cube by Andrianna Shamaris.

Prouvé designed the Standard Chair, one of his most well-known pieces, in 1934 for the University of Nancy in northeast France. His decision to make the back legs out of molded sheet steel while propping up the front with lightweight tubular steel piping was a considered one: the wide, hollow back sections bear most of the weight of the seated person and transfer this primary weight to the floor

Standard chair by Jean Prouvé. Designed in 1934.

Standard Chair, Design by Jean Prouve, Vitra - 2002 edition
Standard Chair, Design by Jean Prouve, Vitra - 2002 edition

Self-taught French architect and furniture maker Jean Prouvé advised would-be visionaries,“Never design anything that cannot be made.” Innovative and idealistic yet staunchly practical, the early modernist described himself as a “design engineer.” He drew upon a formative apprenticeship with master blacksmiths in Paris to create his metal furniture and other objects intended for mass production.

Pair of Chairs in Bakelite by Rene Herbst - France 1935
Pair of Chairs in Bakelite by Rene Herbst - France 1935
Pair of Chairs in Bakelite by Rene Herbst - France 1935

This 1935 chair by French architect and designer René Herbst is a reminder of the virtues of close looking. What at first glance reads as a playful yet familiar pairing of black and white is, upon further observation, a deep, moody green set against cream-colored enamel. The unfamiliar quality of the rich green seat, arms, and back stems in part from their material—Bakelite, an early plastic that can shift in tonality depending on the light and one’s perspective.

Bakelite chair by René Herbst. Manufactured in 1935.

The Object Portraits: A Solid Foundation

The Object Portraits:
A Solid Foundation

The history of modern design can be told through its chairs. These ubiquitous elements not only ground people to their environments but also are among the first and most enduring reflections of technical breakthroughs, material advancements, aesthetic trends, and cultural shifts. They set the tone for a space, build the base of a home, and are worthy of close observation.

“A chair is a very difficult object,” said Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.“A skyscraper is almost easier. That is why Chippendale is famous.” Mies met the challenge with seats such as his iconic Barcelona lounge, and to this day, few architects and designers can resist trying to distill an entire design philosophy into an object made to sustain an intimate, functional dialogue with a single person.

This selection of object portraits reveals the distinctive silhouettes of four striking chairs (or chair-like elements) alongside the details that often go unnoticed: the fine finish of a curved plywood base, the otherworldly clash of organic materials, the subtle mix of metal forms selected with practical, load-bearing concerns in mind. Presented in the same light-filled loft space, the unique traits of each object shine through.

Presto Chair by Jean Louis Berthet - France 1977
Presto Chair by Jean Louis Berthet - France 1977
Presto Chair by Jean Louis Berthet - France 1977
Presto Chair by Jean Louis Berthet - France 1977

“Presto” is a fitting name for this plywood wonder, in which an upholstered curve floats atop a foundation that juts forward at a bold angle. The jauntiness of the finely finished base is no coincidence. The chair was designed by Jean-Louis Berthet for the Atelier de Recherche et de Création, a subsidiary of France’s Mobilier National that was founded in 1964 André Malraux to promote contemporary design as a statement of national pride.

Presto chair by Jean-Louis Berthet. Manufactured by KS International in 1977.

“When I first started developing this process nearly ten years ago, I did a tabletop and used brightly colored resin. It just wasn’t right somehow. It took a long time to finally figure out what I wanted—to make it look like a quartz crystal. And to this day, people ask me, ‘Is this how it grows on the tree?’ Because it looks so organic, so natural. I often joke that in Indonesia, we have crystal hanging off the trees! Obviously not, but it does look like that, because of the depth of a piece like this.”

–Andrianna Shamaris
St. Barts Cube
St. Barts Cube
St. Barts Cube

In this teak and cracked resin cube from Andrianna Shamaris, two organic materials are brought together for an effect that is simultaneously natural and otherworldly. The process begins with carefully selected pieces of old wood, salvaged teak gathered by Shamaris in her studio in Sumatra, Indonesia.“Old wood has got so many different tones to it—greys and golds—and natural crevices,” she says. “When filled with cracked resin of a certain thickness, the result resembles a quartz crystal. These pieces are like little jewels.”

Teak and cracked resin cube by Andrianna Shamaris.

Prouvé designed the Standard Chair, one of his most well-known pieces, in 1934 for the University of Nancy in northeast France. His decision to make the back legs out of molded sheet steel while propping up the front with lightweight tubular steel piping was a considered one: the wide, hollow back sections bear most of the weight of the seated person and transfer this primary weight to the floor

Standard chair by Jean Prouvé. Designed in 1934.

Standard Chair, Design by Jean Prouve, Vitra - 2002 edition
Standard Chair, Design by Jean Prouve, Vitra - 2002 edition

Self-taught French architect and furniture maker Jean Prouvé advised would-be visionaries,“Never design anything that cannot be made.” Innovative and idealistic yet staunchly practical, the early modernist described himself as a “design engineer.” He drew upon a formative apprenticeship with master blacksmiths in Paris to create his metal furniture and other objects intended for mass production.

Pair of Chairs in Bakelite by Rene Herbst - France 1935
Pair of Chairs in Bakelite by Rene Herbst - France 1935
Pair of Chairs in Bakelite by Rene Herbst - France 1935

This 1935 chair by French architect and designer René Herbst is a reminder of the virtues of close looking. What at first glance reads as a playful yet familiar pairing of black and white is, upon further observation, a deep, moody green set against cream-colored enamel. The unfamiliar quality of the rich green seat, arms, and back stems in part from their material—Bakelite, an early plastic that can shift in tonality depending on the light and one’s perspective.

Bakelite chair by René Herbst. Manufactured in 1935.