Pierre Chapo's Own Family Dining Table in Elm
Pierre Chapo's own dining table, model T21E, elm, France, 1970s
This dining table is owned and designed by Pierre Chapo, and was used daily in the home of the Chapo family. This is a very special and unique piece, a delight to come by for anyone who can appreciate the work of Pierre Chapo. At first glance this table looks very similar to the well known dining table type 'T21E', but there are two clear differences. First is that the top of the table is thicker than usual, and the wood used for this table has strong contrasts in color. The preferred wood type by Chapo is elm, which is used in this piece too. However, the tree that this table was made from was what we call a 'wildlife' tree. Meaning it was partially dead caused by forces or nature like drought, lightning, fire or sickness. This fact results in the differences in color throughout the wood. Chapo saw the beauty in this natural phenomenon and applied it in his designs.
Pierre Chapo (1927-1987) was born in a family of craftsmen and trained as an architect at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Already from a young age, he felt the need to roam the world. He was only twenty-one when he left France in order to spend the next few years traveling through England and Scandinavia. In December of 1951, he was living back in Paris, where he met his future wife, Nicole. Their meeting was the beginning of a lifelong union. Together, the lovebirds travelled through South and North America being captivated by the architectural diversity. Back in France, he and his partner Nicole set up Société Chapo in 1957. Société Chapo was a design workshop and gallery in one where he showed his own creations. However, Nicole also presented her ceramics, and textiles here and they even exhibited other great designers of that period. In 1958, they opened their famous gallery at 14 Boulevard de l'Hopital. Chapo's work originated by means of special commissions that could later be adapted to universal needs. Throughout his career, Chapo combined his interest for contemporary design with his love for traditional craftmanship. In his designs, he was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright's balanced lines, Corbusier's research on proportions and the ideas of Bauhaus. The three principles that motivated Pierre Chapo were 'material, form, and function.' He measured his furniture by means of golden ratio and used elmwood as his preferred material. Unfortunately, Chapo fell ill, and he died in 1987, however, until his last day, he kept on designing and working.
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