You only have to pick up a copy of the latest Home and Garden magazine and it won’t be long before you come across glossy pictures of a perfectly placed bistro table and chairs framed by a well-manicured lawn, or ensconced in an ornate courtyard complete with a backdrop of fountains and grapevines. Even though it may be quintessentially European the trusty bistro set is used in many guises all over the world. To celebrate the ever-popular bistro furniture we thought that it would be a good idea to take a look at it’s origins and to see just how the humble bistro set has developed over the years.
Chair No 14
Probably the very first bistro chair was known quite simply as Chair No.14. Designed by Michael Thonet back in 1859 he utilised a unique steam-bending process known as ‘bentwood’. Simple in design and affordable, it went on to become one of the best selling chairs of all time. In no time at all it was soon gracing cafés and bistro’s throughout Paris and as a result became known as the ‘bistro chair’.Very soon other designers were scrambling to make small oval or round shaped tables to accommodate the popular Chair No.14 and together they became fashionably known as bistro furniture.
From wood to wrought iron
In the mid to late 1800’s the onset of the industrial revolution meant that casting methods became much improved. As a result iron became the material of choice for many items including bistro furniture. Companies throughout Europe were competing to be the best, and inspired by Rococo revival design the once rustic looking bistro furniture was suddenly transformed into something incredibly ornate. Simple functional lines were replaced with ornate scrolling and companies such as Molla and JB Salterini were especially known for their intricate work. As such bistro furniture began to appear in the gardens of the wealthy elite as well as on the pavements of café’s and bistro’s throughout Europe. The humble bistro set had been elevated to a whole new level.
Modern times and other compositions
As tastes and styles changed over the years manufacturers began to look for more and more practical materials. Moving towards the present day bistro sets started to appear in many guises. From steam-pressed wood, through to aluminium and even plastic. Suddenly, people looking to purchase a bistro set were inexplicably spoilt for choice.
Nowadays you can find bistro furniture in a multitude of materials, designs and colours that’s ideal for pavement café’s, indoor home kitchen areas and even balconies. From folding furniture that’s designed to be incredibly lightweight, through to heavy based brushed steel that’s designed to sit out in all weather’s, bistro furniture is just as practical and popular today as it was back then.
Here at Cafe Solutions we have a wide range of bistro furniture to choose from, so if you’re looking to enhance your outside space, or make the most of your inside area, then why not see what we have to offer.