Mathieu Mategot

Mathieu Mategot (4 April 1910 February 2001) was a Hungarian / French designer and material artist. He was one of the most renowned French designers of the 1950s.

Mategot was born on 4 April 1910 at Tapio-Sully, a village about 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Budapest in Hungary. He studied at the school of fine arts and architecture in Budapest between 1925 and 1929. He created sets for the National Theater. He then traveled in Italy and the United States before settling in France in 1931. There he took jobs that included making sets for the Folies Bergere, window dressing at the Galeries Lafayette, designing women's dresses and, in the late 1930s, creating tapestries. In 1933 he started to create his first examples of rattan furniture mounted on metal frames.

Mategot volunteered for the French army at the start of World War II (193945) and was taken prisoner, being freed in 1944. As a prisoner, he worked in a plant manufacturing mechanical accessories, where he learned the techniques and potential of sheet metal. After being released he became naturalized as a French citizen.

Following the war, Mategot established a workshop for making handcrafted furniture using a variety of materials such as metal, rattan, glass, formica, and perforated sheet metal. The workshop made chairs, tables, sideboards, desks and other objects that he had designed. At first based in Paris, the workshop later moved to Casablanca. All the furniture and other objects had clever, practical and amusing designs. Distributed to decoration shops in editions of 200, his work was extremely successful.

Mategot designed the three-legged "Nagasaki" chair in 1954 and the "Copacabana" armchair (1955/1956), both made of steel tube and perforated sheet metal, characteristic materials whose use Mategot pioneered. The Nagasaki chair is now held in the design collection at the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris. The Copacabana armchair is in the design collection at the Centre Georges Pompidou, Beaubourg, Paris. Mategot furnished or decorated buildings such as the Hotel de France in Conakry, Guinea, the Drugstrore Publicis in Paris and the Maison de l'ORTF in Paris (1962).

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