DIOR AT THE SALONE DEL MOBILE
Dior Maison invited seventeen artists to reinterpret one of its iconic emblems: the medallion chair. A symbol of Louis XVI style that Christian Dior chose as soon as he founded his House, in order to seat guests at his fashion shows in a “sober, simple and above all classic and Parisian” décor, as he recounted in his memoirs. The essential oval surmounted by a Fontanges bow became one of the major codes of 30 Avenue Montaigne, the beating heart of Dior. Feminine and sensual, it punctuated, in black and gold, or pink and gray, the bottles and coffrets of the House’s legendary first perfumes (from Diorama to Diorissimo) as well as in-store décor, starting with “Colfichets” – the first Dior boutique, inaugurated by the founding couturier in 1947, where medallion chairs were elegantly clad in cannage and toile de Jouy. Among the most influential in the world, these artists have exhibited in prestigious museums including the MoMA in New York, the MAD in Paris and the V&A in London. An unprecedented and pluralistic collaboration, a reflection of the House’s timeless modernity that reinvents the Dior dream and lets it live on.
Fascinated by his own Tswana heritage and the diversity of African cultures, Atang Tshikare's work highlights beliefs and myths about the cosmos and divinity. For Dior, the artist has created a medallion chair in vegan tanned leather enhanced with constellations in relief, using a debossing effect. Dreamlike punctuations in the form of Bantu ancestral pictograms – delivering messages such as "we", "soul" and "immortal" – are adorned with black and white beads. Each symbol, translated into English, appears through delicate engravings on the wooden base, as a universal reading. This sculptural piece, titled Dinaledi, meaning "stars" in Setswana – Atang’s mother tongue – is based on the cosmos as the beginning and evolution of life.
Tshikare uses the constellations that align the southern and northern hemisphere at the time of the African Spring as a symbol that represents the magic and beauty of that which surrounds us. The celestial and spiritual imagination of the artist, who is fascinated by destiny and its signs, brings him even closer to Christian Dior, who made the star his eternal lucky charm. Conceived as a powerful philosophy of peace, this creation pays ode to the coexistence of the being and the spirit.
Poised at the crossroads of art and interior architecture, design and scenography, French designer Constance Guisset, who heads her own studio, explores different universes in quest for eclecticism and meaning. In addition to her projects for furniture manufacturers, she creates stage sets for concerts and contemporary dance, notably for the Wang Ramirez company. In 2018, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris hosted a personal retrospective, revealing her enchanting imagination and her sense of ergonomics and balance, an art of purity and dreaminess. Everything, in her eyes, can serve as a starting point, a source of inspiration: the drape of an antique sculpture, a color, the gracefulness of a movement, a mathematical equation.
In that spirit, her works embody a new freedom, a breath of fresh air, lightness. Inspired by the medallion chair’s dimensions and theatrical role – Monsieur Dior used it to seat guests attending his fashion shows at 30 Avenue Montaigne – she created a folding chair with a milled wooden structure, composed of two symmetrical ovals, like a delicate bivalve shell. This object is part of a lifestyle that combines comfort, sensual sobriety and a nomadic spirit, to answer the desires of everyday life.
Positioned at the crossroads of the worlds of art, fashion, cinema and travel, Dimorestudio celebrates the creative richness of architecture and design through ultra-contemporary works and concepts with multiple inspirations. That signature vision, and singular atmosphere, also inhabit the spaces designed by Britt Moran and Emiliano Salci. A virtuoso and audacious mix of styles, periods, materials and colors forms an unexpected collective harmony, rendering each object unique.
Sensitive to the timelessness of the Dior medallion chair and its French spirit, the designers chose to deconstruct the original, breaking it into several pieces and reassembling it anew. Held together by precious bronze and brass clips and decorated with stuccoes in gold leaf, various elements, reconstituted by hand, rejoin to form a single piece, a testament to the emblem’s essence of immutable elegance.
In her world, colors are flamboyant, materials are sensual, and lines are often curved. An architect and designer, India Mahdavi creates cosmopolitan and joyful atmospheres. With her feminine and intense, almost organic signature, she reinterprets the Louis XVI-style medallion chair in a contemporary, multicultural dialogue. Reupholstered, the object is adorned with vivid shades, contrasting with the iconic Dior gray it traditionally sports.
Through this subtle clash of “polychrome and polyglot” – two adjectives she likes to use to define herself – the French designer of Iranian-Egyptian origin offers this emblem of classicism an unprecedented blend. She has favored a wool crochet technique to develop colorful patterns – each time different – on sublime embroideries, made with Indian craft techniques from Kashmir. Unique and singular, these five chairs form “a united tribe despite their individuality,” in her words, celebrating the meeting of art and savoir-faire that the House holds dear.
In his work, Jinyeong Yeon transcends and diverts everyday materials to reveal their beauty and give them a second life. With this in mind, he has reinterpreted the medallion chair in two versions that are both raw and colorful. One is made of pipes subtly deformed by sand casting, while the second is crafted from sheet aluminum with diagonal striations reminiscent of the Dior Oblique motif. Inspired by architecture but also by the Dior runway shows and looks by various Artistic Directors, the Korean artist – who wore a pair of Dior sneakers throughout his inventive process – has transformed these iconic seats into ultra-contemporary creations that catch the eye with their magnetic charm.
Joy de Rohan Chabot
Drawing on her childhood dreams, from the edge of the forest to the shade of the underbrush, Joy de Rohan Chabot’s universe is populated by a fairy-tale flora reflecting her fascination for nature and the decorative arts. Through fine work in bronze, wood, iron or glass, the French artist, painter and sculptor gives life to precious and verdant trompe-l’oeils. For Dior, she brings her dreamlike signature to the medallion chair, transforming it into a plant-like creation. A poetic gesture that is more than ever at the heart of contemporary issues.
The structure, which is handmade in function of her inspirations, allows delicate foliage to blossom, forming a backrest and a seat, and recalls the original design, with its oval shape and gray hue, the House’s favorite color. A luxurious tribute to Christian Dior and his lifelong passion for flowers, this unique work also invokes the bucolic theme of the spring-summer 2020 women’s ready-to-wear show by Maria Grazia Chiuri, an ode to the botanical world.
Khaled El Mays
Mettant en scène la virtuosité de la main, et notamment l’art du tissage, les trois chaises médaillon revisitées par Khaled El Mays se découvrent tel un voyage captivant au cœur de ses inspirations. Né au Liban, cet artiste formé à l’architecture – première passion de Monsieur Dior –, puise sa créativité en observant le monde qui l’entoure et en faisant dialoguer sa double culture, orientale et occidentale, source de richesse inépuisable. Perpétuant la vocation de sa mère, il a fondé son propre studio-atelier, à Beyrouth, et façonné sa première collection en hommage à la beauté de son pays. Cet artisanat local ainsi que le choix responsable de matériaux tiennent une place centrale dans ses travaux.
Local craftsmanship as well as responsibly sourced materials are central to his work. In this way, his unique pieces for Dior reveal, through their graphic aesthetic, a process of deconstruction the designer favors. Each work represents a stage in this process, from reinterpretation (respecting original proportions), to reinvention (modifying use and value), to total deconstruction. A striking series that captures the classic essence of this historic object, and invites it, more than ever, to transcend time.
Linde Freya Tangelder
“Beauty can be found in the daily, in the unfinished, in the randomness of life,” says Linde Freya Tangelder, describing her vision of the world around her. Combining art, design, sculpture and architecture, her universe showcases mundane everyday objects in order to elevate them into a new realm. In naming her studio Destroyers/Builders, an evocative oxymoron, the Dutch artist affirms her fascination with the process of deconstruction as a means of creating her signature works. As such, the artist took on the Dior medallion chair, in gray – an iconic color dear to Christian Dior, who also described it as "the most practical and elegant" hue – and revisited it in aluminum.
Reinterpreted with its inherent balance, the iconic seat is reinvented with three legs and an inclined dossier that references its iconic oval in an almost raw form. Its purity and irregular details, an ode to the perfect imperfection of hand-craftsmanship, further underscore the minimalistic, refined, and timeless character of the piece. A celebration of artisanal virtuosity, a passion shared by the House and the designer.
Ma Yansong’s reimagining of the medallion chair transports this iconic design into the future. Traveling through time, the chair is caught in motion. Recast in monochrome 3D-printed polyurethane, the work reflects Ma’s artistic and architectural ethos, blending nature and structure to generate an emotional connection. This imaginative and innovative approach is also emblematic the creative practice of MAD’s, the global architecture studio Ma founded in 2004 with locations in Beijing, Jiaxing, Rome, and Los Angeles.
Across scale and typology, Ma transcends time by conceiving works imbued with spiritual resonance from nature. In so doing, Ma animates aesthetic reflections with philosophical explorations of time and space, probing new conceptual horizons to achieve a harmonious balance. Embodying a symbiosis between historical tradition and a desired future, his dazzling works recall the magical essence of haute couture, which, as Christian Dior liked to say, was “always ahead of its time.”
Form and function, style and structure are all combined and questioned in Martino Gamper's furniture designs. The Italian designer, who lives in London, learned the trade of cabinetmaking before studying sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He then joined the Royal College of Art in London, where he worked with Ron Arad and later taught at the college himself. In 2017, he made his mark with his project 100 Chairs in 100 Days.
For one hundred days, he designed one hundred models from found and reclaimed elements, combining existing pieces to generate singular hybrid creations, tinged with poetry and humor. For Dior, he has once again reworked this essential object, simplifying its lines while preserving the unique allure of the medallion. His reinterpretations are the result of a combination of colors and fabrics – and offer a refined and contemporary vision of chairs, these "functional, elegant and timeless witnesses."
In Nacho Carbonell's world, creations are organic and narrative, designed as an escape from everyday life and for interacting, marveling, discovering, and understanding. Like surprising fractures, they question our existential condition, our relationship to history and the nature of objects. Renowned for experiments* that hover between reality and imaginary abstractions, the Spanish designer uses plays on materials, accumulation, textures and forms to breathe life into his work.
Moving on from those audacious diversions, he now revisits the Dior medallion chair, endowing it with its own personality as well as stories that define its uniqueness today. Its hallmark oval medallion back is amplified to achieve a pixel effect, as are its legs, which create an illusion of plurality. These facets constitute the unique essence of a modern and timeless style icon, celebrating its universal beauty.
* Among his many international awards, he was honored as Designer of the Future at the 2009 Design/Miami Basel art fair.
Shaping reality, playing with perceptions and the concept of happiness, reinventing dimensions: like a magician, Oki Sato perfects the art of illusion in studio creations dubbed nendo (which literally translates as ‘modeling clay’). With a virtuoso mix of architecture and design, pure lines and the softness of emotions, the Japanese artist invents minimalist codes tinged with a dreamlike sense of joy. This singular style has earned him international acclaim and a number of prestigious awards, characterized by the powerful, sensitive signature in his graphic reinterpretation of the Dior medallion chair, baptized Chaise Medaillon 3.0. The piece’s back, seat and legs now form a single piece, carved from a thin sheet of tempered glass and curved in a semi-circle, forming a space of its own and offering an intimate interlude seemingly suspended in time.
Elements retained from the original iconic seat included shades of white and gray, punctuated by a pale pink, the founding couturier’s favorite color. Highlighted by an interplay of abstraction and transparency, its emblematic oval appears hollowed out, embedded in the heart of the material like an immutable symbol of timelessness. Contemporary elegance, in which past, present and future, art and fashion dialogue in “a long conversation with Monsieur Dior,” as Oki Sato spontaneously describes it.
“Occupying an indeterminate place between what already exists and what does not yet exist,” is how French artist Pierre Charpin defines his approach, which is driven by a search for newness and unexpected pairings. A graduate of the Beaux-Arts, his design philosophy is that of a visual artist who reinvents geometric figures as a new language. His creations reflect an ultimate quest for simplicity and refinement, as seen in his reinterpretation of the medallion chair for Dior. Conceived as a symbolic object, this piece occupies space like the lines of a drawing, echoing a haute couture silhouette sketched by Monsieur Dior himself.
Its clean, black, graphic lines recreate the curves and essence of the iconic model – its four legs and emblematic elliptical back – while a mirror-topped seat provides a striking contrast to the steel structure. An invitation, in the words of the designer, to “(look) at oneself before being looked at” – an enchanting reflection of fashion and the construction of identity.
Inspired by the neo-classical movement Swedish Grace of the 1920s, Pierre Yovanovitch is equally fascinated by the aesthetic richness of nature, and finds in its chromatic palette and organic forms an inexhaustible source of inspiration. Renowned for captivating projects in which art, design and refinement, sensuality and geometry converge, for Dior the French interior architect transformed the emblematic medallion chair into what he calls “a rebellious and contemporary” work.
Conceived like a masculine/feminine diptych interconnected by their style and allure, these two sculptural pieces in steel, dubbed Monsieur and Madame Dior, cultivate individuality in addition to their natural affinity just like a loving couple. A resonant echo of the singular, multi-layered history of the object itself, which is inscribed in the very heart of the House’s heritage. In a renewed celebration of House codes, the duo revisits the signature Dior Oblique canvas designed by Marc Bohan in 1967, in original shades and with exceptional embroidery created especially by the prestigious Vermont atelier. An artistic gesture that pays homage to the immutable essence of an icon of elegance.
An ode to art and the joie de vivre Christian Dior loved, Sam Baron’s reinvention of the medallion chair radiates modernity, poised at the crossroads of culture, history and a convivial philosophy. The French designer has transcended the individual dimension of this style icon by transposing its unmistakable oval silhouette onto indoor and outdoor versions, including a swing and a double rocking chair. Playful, warm-hearted objects, born freely from his imagination and colorful sketches, reflect Dior's contemporary and dreamlike elegance.
The iconoclastic designer shares with the House the same poetic vision of beauty, an unconditional love of nature and flora, and draws on the world around him to create singular and collective pieces combining exceptional savoir-faire and innovation. These sculptural works celebrate, more than ever, delicious moments of complicity, happiness and authentic encounters, seemingly suspended in time.
"Simple, unique and fun" are the words Seungjin Yang uses to describe his reinterpretation of the Dior medallion chair. Inspired by the confrontation between objects with opposing characteristics, which he stages with virtuosity in his Blowing Series furniture collection, he has transformed this House emblem into a playful creation that challenges the imagination. The Korean artist molded different balloons, symbols of fragility and instability, from epoxy resin to reinvent the structure, seat and back of the chair. A joyful and surprising work that combines sobriety and elegance with technical prowess.
In combining contemporary art with architecture, the past and the future, Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka seeks "to transcend human senses". Fascinated by intangible elements – emotions, energies, sounds and smells – he draws inspiration from his cultural heritage and the aura of Nature to create captivating objects positioned between abstraction and reality. To reinvent Dior's medallion chair, he transforms light into a material in its own right, a bold process that has become his artistic signature.
Like an optical illusion, his work springs to life in a subtle play of transparency and relief, a symbol of a retro-futuristic elsewhere. Like a chimerical escape, this technical feat goes beyond the formal structure of a unique piece that seems to be born of a lively, imaginary spark. A work that seems to blur time-space boundaries, it is an invitation to dream beyond borders and appearances.