Rene Herbst Sandows Chaise




In September I visited Paris and L’Arche in La Defence. I took the lift to the top floor of L’Arche which has a museum of communication. There I found several chairs to enable viewing various tromp l’oeils. I didn’t know their provenance until I bought the book 100 masterpieces of the Vitra Design museum in Vienna at Prodomo Windows. From that excellent catalog I learned these chairs are most likely variations on the original Sandows Chaise designed by Rene Herbst.

About Rene Herbst

Born in Paris in 1891, René Herbst studied architecture in London and Frankfurt from 1908. After finishing his studies, he traveled extensively in Russia and Italy. In 1919 he started working as a furniture designer and interior decorator in Paris. He founded Etablissements René Herbst to produce the pieces he designed.

In 1925 René Herbst designed several exhibition stalls for the Paris “Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes”.

In 1927 René Herbst designed the revolutionary and functional “Chaise Sandows” seat furniture. The frames were nickel-plated tubular steel, the seat and back was made of rubber strips stretched taut and fastened to the frame by hooks at the end.

René Herbst first showed his “Chaise Sandows” at the 1929 Salon d’Automne, where Le Corbusier also presented furniture with tubular steel frames.

In 1930 René Herbst joined Robert Mallet-Stevens, Francis Jourdain, and others in founding the Union des Artistes Modernes (UAM); a large group of artists and designers committed to Modernism joined the co-founders. The UAM was founded as a countermovement to Art déco, which the UAM artists repudiated because they found it overloaded with decoration and too ornamental. In 1945 René Herbst was elected chairman of the UAM. The UAM organized exhibitions in Paris under the heading of “Les Formes Utiles” (Utilitarian Forms).

cited from René

Sandows is French for the rubber strips or bungees that form the seating and back of the chair.

Sandow Chair

Recently, at a Paris auction of Christie’s this Sandows Chair that reportedly belonged to Rene Herbst own collection was sold for € 4,375.

6 thoughts on “Rene Herbst Sandows Chaise”

  1. I own a set of these Sandows Chaise, but a few of the bungees are quite stretched out. I was wondering how I could find out how to change the bungees out, or buy a new set. You never know, maybe you have a tip.

    1. Hi, Ben…
      It’s late to reply on this post, but I just find it : like Antonia did, I’m looking for new bungees for my old Sandow chairs.
      If ever you still do have an address, do not hesitate !

  2. @Ben

    Got the following Reply from Antonia:

    I actually found a company in southern california (the bungee company) that replaced my old bungees.

    Thanks again!

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