Bev's Keen Eye on Design

February 2015: The New Tete-a-Tete

Definition: A type of sofa, or two chairs joined together, in a serpentine shape, so that two people occupying it face opposite directions, but are quite close and can easily see each other in profile (the French phrase “tete-a-tete” refers to an intimate conversation); developed during the early 19th century, out of cushioned, upholstered French sofas (canapes), it’s usually associated with ornate Victorian furniture styles (and often uses the coil-spring technology developed in the 1830s), but Mid-Century Modern verisions were also made by designers Salvador Dali and Edward Wormley.

During the 18th century in England and France, ladies dresses were designed to be very wide at the hips. A small settee was created to accommodate this trend in order for her to sit down. It was a double chair with no arm rests between the seats. The fashion changed, but the new chair retained its popularity as being able to accomodate two people, and the Tete-a-Tete was born. Also knows as a Courting Chair, they were officially manufactured as Loveseats from the turn of the 19th century onward.

It is also known as a sconfidante, vis-a-vis, gossip couch!

The first one is a version of the earlier pieces that the new tete-a-tetes, we have today, are fashioned after.

The second photo of A. Rudin’s version I have seen in person and is a beautiful piece. It would be great in the center of a long room that needs two conversational areas on each side.

The next photo I found on 1st Dibs and would work in front of a fireplace or even a low window. It can be used as a chaise for two!

The last two are are designs by Christopher Guy. The wood and details on these two are quite beautiful in their shapes.

Think outside of the box and add one of these to your interiors they can be quite fun!


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