• Maddi Van Pelt

History Lesson: Cabriolet Chair

During the reign of King Louis XVI, taste began to change from Rococo style, which was known for heavy ornamentation and curved lines, to Neoclassicism, featuring clean and straight lines. Louis XVI style was the last stage of the baroque style and the beginning of the French neoclassicism. Although, the French neoclassic period only lasted about thirty years, the Louis XVI Style continued into the Empire period at the beginning of the 19th century. Today, these one of a kind pieces can be found preserved in museums and galleries around the world.

These chairs feature a wide, curved outward design with a concave back, oversized seat cushions, and an over extending arm rest. The chair backs were always upholstered and were most commonly rounded or shield shaped and on occasion rectangular. These chairs also have straight legs that are usually fluted and tapered. The most classic designs featured hand stitched designs with pastel pallets used from the most popular materials. During this time period these chairs played an equal roll in importance of decorative and functionality. The cabriolet was created to be statement piece in the center of the room, in contrast to the formal fauteuil a la reine, a square, flat back chair placed against the wall or at a table. These chairs incorporated simple carvings including rosettes or flowers, and were occasional gilded or painted.

Today, these chairs have risen in popularity. Designers have taken the basic form of these chair and modernized them using new materials and color palettes. Instead of the traditional floral motifs and pastel colors, we are seeing solid fabrics with a wide variety of vibrant colors. In some cases, wooden framing has been replace with thin shiny metal. We've also seen versions of this chair made completely out of clear plastic!

So what do you think of Kind Louis XVI's revival in 2021? Are these designers making moves with their personal interpretations or missing the mark by altering a classic piece? Let us know what you think! Also, check out our Pinterest board for more images and inspiration!

Notes: All images above were collected for research and reporting purposes only. We do not own or claim ownership of these images. Please visit our Pinterest board for the origin of these images.

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