Belgian furniture manufacturer Meurop is best known for its successful production of 1960s designs by Pierre Guariche (1926-1995), who was one of the most renowned French industrial and interior designers of the mid-20th century.
In the early 1960s, Guariche’s designs for Meurop centred around storage items made from plywood, including teak-veneered dining tables, buffets and shelves. Both the Shell Chair (1961) and the Polaris Chair (1965) marked a new era in Guariche’s career, as he abandoned natural materials such as wood in favor of synthetics and plastics. Referencing Charles & Ray Eames’ iconic side chairs, the Shell Chair, which was made from a light, yet strong piece of molded plastic, is thought to be representative of both a desire to produce affordable design through mass production, and a response to an increasingly consumerist society.
Capturing the zeitgeist of the 1960s, Guariche also created a number of space and astronomically-inspired chairs for Meurop, including the Mars Armchair (1965), Jupiter Armchair (1966), and Luna Armchair (1967), which also referenced apparent shapes seen in Arne Jacobsen's sculptured Egg Chair (1958). Riding on the coattails of his successful Mars Chair, Guariche became Artistic Director of Meurop in 1967.
Today, many of Meurop’s original pieces have been relaunched by contemporary furniture producers and retails stores, including the French chain Maisons du Monde.