These Seats Are Comfortable — A French Studio


The inspiration behind this artist’s project? Her grandmother. By combining art work and practical repairs, she gave her granddaughter a very bright idea.

Marie Cocquerelle launched “On est bien assis là” (literally “These seats are comfortable”) – a seating design and repair craft venture – in 2015. A visual arts teacher and practitioner, Marie Cocquerelle studied at the Valenciennes school of fine arts in France. As a student, she based her work on objects, with a focus on “de-functionalization”. Several of her sculptures and installations are reflections on the seat, and she got the idea for her venture as she chatted with her grandmother, who asked her to repair some armchairs for her. This heritage – her training – is something she was keen to preserve, and it can still be felt in her work, which blurs the boundaries between art and design.

Working with fabric
Choosing Sunbrella fabric

The name of her studio is taken from the title of an article in France’s leading film review, the “Cahiers du Cinéma”, on the death of three directors – Isou, Bergman and Antonioni – a few days apart: “On Est Mal Assis Là” (Ed. “These seats are uncomfortable”, a reference to cinema seats but also, by extension, to uncomfortable situations). She never forgot the title and, when she finally came to open her own studio, she decided to call it “On Est Bien Assis Là”.

Three years later, the designer decided to move into a workshop with five cabinetmakers. This “coworking space” gave rise to several collaborative seating projects.

Seating made using Sunbrella fabric
Collaboration with cabinetmaker Frédérique Kalfon

For Marie, the choice of fabric is an essential part of her work. It is the point of contact or interface between the object, its function, environment and the customer’s satisfaction. The fabric needs to be beautiful but to ensure it wears well, it also has to be suitable for upholstery. Resistance and tensile and abrasive strength are essential criteria for creating quality seating.

Rolls of Sunbrella fabric

For the artist, these creations are a reflection of her identity: simple, elegant objects with tiny details that make a big difference. Her first contact with the object is visual and then tactile, as she begins to encounter the materials – wood and fabric – by handling them, and thinking how she can use them and give a unique perspective to seating.

The way she works fabrics in relief is her signature touch. By folding or pleating them, she brings shape to materials, highlighting or echoing those of the furniture itself. This conversation between forms, lines and materials provides the starting point for On Est Bien Assis Là.

Here, Marie Cocquerelle has sought to underline the wings of the armchair by extending the perspective through the addition of epaulettes. The vertical draping lengthens the armchair’s silhouette.

Pink chair
Draping fabrication

Here the idea is to set up a dialogue between two armchairs with exactly the same shape. Using draping open to the exterior, the eye is drawn from one armchair to the other.

Purple chair
Fabrication detail

Far from being a single model applied to all armchairs as part of an aesthetic approach, the textile is worked according to the material in hand, its thickness and resistance. These criteria inspire the artisan and make each chair unique.

Visit her website and Facebook page for more information.

481 avenue de Dunkerque
59160 Lomme – France