The Proust Armchair: Stylish and Ironic by designer Alessandro Mendini


The Proust armchair is ironic and playful, one of those things that I think are able to add even more zest and character to the environment where they are placed. Designed by Alessandro Mendini and distributed by Cappellini since 1978, it is one of the most popular product designs in the world.

If you are looking for something that can give vitality to your environment, then Proust is definitely the item for you!


The Proust armchair, besides being one of the leading products of historic Italian design, is also one of my favorites: I find an extremely fascinating history.

It has a history that encompasses literature, art, passion, ideas, research and pure love for design.

Throughout his life Alessandro Mendini read the works of Proust and he was fascinated by the ability that the author had to describe the environmental scenes, places, and interiors.

From this spark, he began to imagine how an armchair would be if created for Proust. He began to inquire about the writer’s life, he visited the places where he had lived, and in the course of his research, he discovered that Proust was very close to Pointillist Parisian painters.

Copying the detail of a sunny meadow from a painting by Paul Signac, Mendini, made the texture that covers the armchair. It’s a rich, intentionally false eighteenth-century baroque that was chosen for the feature, to not bring precise geographical or temporal references.

The new product that was being created, the Proust armchair, would be so detached from the constraints of time and space, and be able to give that extra touch without necessarily correlating to a place or a time.

A truly fascinating history, that when I discovered it for the first time, I was won over!

Originally released only as a piece of furniture for interiors, they eventually designed a garden version, too.

The classic indoor version is made of hand-painted and carved wood, with a fixed cover in in two available fabric variants:

The outdoor version, produced by Magis, is made of polyethylene and is available in various versions. Here are some examples:

So, did you like this classic design icon? which version do you prefer? Write me in the comments, or write me an e-mail at [email protected]

If you liked this article, you may also be interested in:

Crinoline by Patricia Urquiola

The Panton Chair

UP5 and UP6 armchairs by Gaetano Pesce






What do you think? Has the Proust armchair bewitched you too?



Alessandro Mendini revisits Proust chair for marble exhibition (Milan 2014)


Alessandro Mendini

 Proust: indoor version by Cappellini

Proust: outdoor version by Magis

photos via: &

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