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René Herbst PDF Print E-mail
* 1891 in Paris
† 1982 in Paris
Born in Paris in 1891, René Herbst studies architecture in London and Frankfurt at the age of 17 years.
Upon finishing his studies, René Herbst travels extensively through Russia and Italy. In 1919, René Herbst is back again in Paris, where he starts working as a furniture designer and interior decorator.
In 1925, René Herbst designs several exhibition exemplars for the Paris "Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes".
In 1927, René Herbst designs the famous, revolutionary and functional Sandows Chair and Sandows Armchair. The frames are nickel-plated tubular steel while the seat and back are made of rubber strips stretched taut and fastened to the frame by hooks on each end. Under the classic furniture, the chair is known as “Spaghetti Chair”. In 1930, the Chaiselounge 107 follows.
During this time, he founds the company “Établissements René Herbst” to produce the pieces he designs.
In 1929, René Herbst presents for the first time the Sandows chairs at the Salon d'Automne, where Le Corbusier also presents his furniture with tubular steel frames.
René Herbst’s affinity for tubular steel and his many experiments earns him the nickname "l'homme d'acier", in English the “steel man”. Some people say that this title comes from his rigid character as well.
In 1930, René Herbst joins Le Corbusier, Robert Mallet-Stevens, Francis Jourdain and other designers in founding the Union des Artistes Modernes (UAM). The UAM is established as a countermovement to Art Déco which the UAM artists repudiate because they find it overloaded with decoration and too ornamental.
In 1945, René Herbst is elected as chairman of the UAM. The UAM organizes exhibitions in Paris under the heading "Les Formes Utiles" (Utilitarian Forms).
In his life, René Herbst is presented with many awards. As of 1935, he is a Knight of the Legion of Honour in the division of Fine Arts.
One of the most interesting and extensive works in René Herbst’s life as a designer is furniture designs for the princess Aga Khan. He has all the freedom to fully develop himself and work according to his own ideas. Being a great opportunity for him to demonstrate what he understands as “quality”.
Only staying in close contact with his friends, René Herbst lives secluded in Paris until his dead in 1982.