Developed by Vitra in Switzerland, Design by Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, 2015
The Belleville family – the Belleville Chair, the Belleville Armchair and the Belleville Tables – is a new collection developed by Vitra in collaboration with the designers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec, launched at Salone del Mobile 2015. Varied materials and muted colours characterize the remarkable hybrid chair and versatile tables. Through the harmonious coordination of their forms and materials, the chairs and tables can be attractively combined in a broad range of home interiors and environments.
Belleville’s familiar appearance “can speak different languages” and is equally fitting in classical and contemporary contexts. At the same time, the pieces evoke a sense of mystery and curiosity, since their materiality, construction and fabrication only become apparent at second glance.
Belleville is also the name of a Parisian neighbourhood known for its vibrant and creative ambience and its bistros, bars and cafés. Here is where the design studio of Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec is found.
“Belleville needs high engineering – visually and physically the chair follows a strictly defined purpose and precise design“, explain Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec.
The Belleville Chair is a technically sophisticated hybrid chair of two components – a structural frame in polyamide and a seat shell available in different materials. A slender black frame traces the calligraphic lines of the legs and back of the chair. The contour of the back of the Belleville side chair follows a continuous rounded trajectory. The curve of the Belleville armchair, which has forward slanting armrests, changes directions twice and then resumes its momentum. In both versions of the chair, the slender black frame supports an extremely thin shell that tapers from the wide seat surface into a narrow backrest.
This type of construction opens up new perspectives for the materiality of the classic monobloc plastic chair. The surface of the seat shell is the defining characteristic of the Belleville Chair’s identity – available in coloured polyamide, moulded plywood veneer or with a leather or fabric cover. Depending on the seat shell, the perception of the Belleville Chair changes from a polyamide chair to a wooden one to an upholstered seat.
Belleville Table Design: Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, 2015
The Belleville Tables reveal a similar capacity for transformation, featuring table tops in laminate, wood or stone, along with elegantly arched legs of cast aluminium. The Belleville Tables are modelled on the typology of the classic bistro table. The slender legs flow in a continuous sweeping line from their splayed bottom along the central column to the table top. Forming star- or t-shaped bases, they can be arranged as graceful dining tables, single bistro tables or long cafeteria tables.
The colour and surface texture of the cast aluminium table legs, which have a black powder- coated finish, are nearly indistinguishable from the polyamide frame of the Belleville Chair. Since the materials of the table tops and seat shells are either identical or harmoniously coordinated, the tables and chairs form a unified yet diverse group – a hybrid family of furnishings whose materiality resists classification. The various materials and subdued colours are defining characteristics of the designs, yet they remain subordinate to the implicit familiarity of their forms.
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