Quite a few passages are taken from the book published by “Les Modernistes” Gallery and written by Pierre Deligny.
We also would like to thank Daniel Bernard and his wife for their encouragement and support.
Charles Bernard was born in the small town of Louhans in the Burgundy region in 1904.
He moved to Paris to start a decoration business in 1926 after finishing his military service where he met the young Pol Pouchol, the influential ceramic artist and sculptor of the Fifties.
Pol Pouchol offered him a roof on his head in Paris and introduced him to the Galeries Lafayette Design department. He was immediately hired and trained as a graphist, draughtsman and colorist to create objects and deal with special orders for the shop.
Livre Airborne - Les Modernistes - Paris
Thanks to his expertise in manufacturing and his skill for drawing, Charles Bernard hired Pierre Guariche, the first one of a long list of young designers who worked for Airborne in the years to come. As soon as 1952, Airborne launched the well-known “Guariche Project” or “Prefacto”, the only modular industrial furniture of the time. Charles Bernard sold the technique to the “Mai Gallery” which used it for the following ten years. The Airborne models were exclusively made of solid beech whilst the May Gallery’s were made of plywood board.
Guariche program or Prefacto
In 1855, Joseph B. Fenby designed a wood and canvass folding chair: the Fenby chair which he registered in the United States in 1881. Manufactured by the American company “The Gold Medal Inc” from 1895, the chair became a big favourite with the military. It was light, had a removable cover, could be folded and easily carried. The manufacturing rights were sold to various European countries when shown at the Saint Louis Universal Exhibition in 1904. The British and Italian army used it in during military actions in Libya. Practical and very stable on sand, the chair became known as the “Tripolina Chair”. Since then, the chair has been made by many companies all the over world and in as many versions, either with leather or fabric covers.
Model deposited in 1881 by J.B Fenby