French designer Marcel Gascoin (1907-1986) was one of the leading furniture designers of the post-war era. He is recognized for the vital role he played in the reconstruction of France after the Second World War, when his modular storage units and matching sets of wooden furniture, which focused on clean aesthetics and functionality, became a staple for French households.
During the post-war housing crisis in France, Gascoin worked as an interior architect and designer for the French Ministry of Reconstruction and Urbanism, designing and building homes as well as the furniture to go inside them. He drew on his long-held love of wood, his childhood fascination with compact and efficient nautical interiors, and his training as an interior designer and cabinetmaker to create a new standard for furniture.
Forward-thinking for its time, and driven by a strong social conscience, Gascoin’s democratic design connected art and industry, bringing together clean aesthetics and rational manufacturing processes to create some of the first modular and multifunctional furniture sets.
The new concept of a “living-room” (pièce à vivre) was launched at the “Logis 49” fair in Paris, combining two traditionally separate spaces for dining and resting or “living” and placing the kitchen nearby. Forward-thinking for its time, and driven by a strong social conscience, Gascoin’s democratic design connected art and industry, bringing together clean aesthetics and rational manufacturing processes to create some of the first modular and multifunctional furniture sets. They balanced utility with elegance and have been described as “a model of modernity”.
Gascoin was a member of the UAM (L’Union des Artistes Moderne or the French Union of Modern Artists) alongside important modernist designers such as Robert Mallet Stevens, Charlotte Perriand, Rene Herbst and Le Corbusier. This was an intellectual movement bound by a philosophy of design that united function with fabrication. In his own workshop, Gascoin passed his knowledge on to the next generation of interior decorators and furniture designers, and several of Gascoin’s apprentices, such as Michel Mortier, Pierre Paulin and Joseph- André Motte, went on to have distinguished careers as designers in their own right.
Today Gascoin’s work, unrecognized for a long time, has been progressively re-discovered by collectors, adoring his simple and striking furniture creations. GUBI has been working with the Marcel Gascoin archive since the reintroduction in 2018 of multiple editions of the C-Chair, followed by the Trèfle Stool, the B-Table and the S-Tables.