The Art of Craft: Hermès Taps British Furniture Designer Jasper Morrison to Reimagine a Historic Brutalist Chair

The Equilbre d’Hermès set pays homage to an important moment in design history.

The Equilibre armchair by Hermes and Jasper Morrison. Photo courtesy Studio des fleurs and Hermes.

Hermès, the French luxury house that started out as a saddlery workshop in 1837, has long produced design objects as well as fashion, including innovative home wares that nod to notable craftsmen throughout history. 

Recently, the house debuted its latest home collection featuring three such special objects: a chair, an armchair, and a table set, all from the English furniture designer Jasper Morrison

Photo by Maxime Tetard and courtesy Hermes.

Photo by Maxime Tetard, courtesy of Hermès.

The pieces are inspired by Morrison’s well-known La Tourette chair, which was commissioned in 1998 by the Le Corbusier-designed Convent of La Tourette, a Dominican Order priory located in the hills of Lyon, France, and the last building the famous architect completed before his death.

During that time, Morrison produced 100 chairs for the convent’s refectory that paid homage to the Brutalist lines of the building and the ascetic lifestyles of the monks who lived there. 

While conceiving the chair for Hermès this year, Morrison was tasked with reimagining the simply-made structure as a luxury object. He decided to craft a matching armchair and table to comprise a three-piece suite that, together, celebrates the original style’s fluid lines, with a few additional updates, including a beveled tabletop, slanted legs, slatted chair backs cut from single pieces of wood, and comfortable seats padded with Hermès’s saddle-stitched leather cushions. 

The project, which took two years to complete, also underscores the importance of ergonomics—especially at a time when we’re doing more sitting at home than usual. “It’s interesting that ergonomics are such a moving target,” Morrison recently told Architectural Digest. “In the 1960s and ’70s, it was thought that the seat should be overly angled to force the sitter into a correct sitting position. Today, we know that a less angled seat is better for the back.”   

Photo by Maxime Tetard and courtesy Hermes.

Photo by Maxime Tetard, courtesy of Hermès.

“This was the most thrilling part of the exercise for us,” said Hermès deputy artistic directors Charlotte Macaux Perelman and Alexis Fabry in the interview. “To envision a piece of furniture and the modifications to be made to it, on the basis of a single criterion: a change of user.”

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.