first fast food chair.
there are star designers where the products are the stars – not the designer. a fine example of this is roger tallon (1929-2011): in france, he was as influential in the second half of the 20th century as perhaps only philippe starck later. typical for him: he is always atypical – but reinvents design in every category he works in. he developed a modular spiral staircase (escalier hélicoïdal, 1962), the first portable television (teleavia p111, 1963), waterproof watches (lip mach 2000, 1973), cameras, projectors, typewriters and flip-open ski boots – he registered about 200 patents over his long career.
on a bigger scale he left huge marks in transportation design, starting with the mexico city metro, in 1968. he designed both the interiors and exteriors of the train cars, as well as the station decor and signage. he was responsible for the revolutionary highspeed-train tgv (1986), the eurostar (1987) – and a new montmartre funicular (1991).
oh, and the furniture, of course: the flat-folding ‘ts chair’, the ‘cryptogramme’ stool, the ‘zombie chair’ – and the ‘wimpy chair’, developed for france’s first fast-food chain in 1960, commissioned by woodworker robert sentou. the cast aluminum frame is topped with a two-part seat in black lacquered thermowood. these easy-to-assemble chairs were practical to store and to transport. as they were in constant use in high-frequented areas, today they are rarely available on the market and have become a real collector’s item. a similar model is in the collections of the centre pompidou and the musée des arts décoratifs, paris.
„the goal of design is to find, if not the perfect form, at least the perfectly integrated form and function. when an object harmonizes technology with social and cultural realities, it becomes a symbol“ roger tallon 1987
roger tallon ‘wimpy chair’, 1960, edition sentou
molded plywood, aluminum
seat height: 18.5 inches (47 cm)