Maxime Old (1910 – 1991)
Maxime Old, born on December 13, 1910, in Maisons-Alfort, a Parisian suburb, came from a lineage of fine cabinetmakers in the Faubourg St. Antoine, a hub of this craft. He joined the family business after being urged by his mother to modernize their traditional trade.
Although his background emphasized tradition, his furniture designs were refreshingly non- traditional.
After four years of rigorous training at Ecole Boulle, Maxime’s talent was recognized by the influential André Fréchet, the school’s director. His craftsmanship and skill set the stage for his role as a leading talent in mid-century French design.
Maxime’s career took shape when he worked with the renowned Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann until 1934, which exposed him to luxury and fine design. However, Maxime’s unique aesthetic emerged, characterized by sleek, modern, and sculptural furniture, often devoid of embellishments.
Functionalism and comfort were essential in Maxime’s work, along with the use of both rare and accessible woods, such as oak, cherry, ash, and walnut. His designs favored perfect proportions, clean lines, and subtle angles, occasionally enhanced with bronze accents or fittings.
Maxime Old’s excellence was acknowledged through various accolades and roles, including Vice-President of the Society of Artist-Decorators and teaching positions at esteemed institutions. His work was regularly featured in influential design periodicals, and he received commissions from prestigious entities like the Mobilier Nationale, resulting in projects for the City Hall in Paris and the French Ministries in The Hague and Helsinki.
Maxime continued designing elegant and functional furniture until his passing in 1991, and his pieces remain highly sought after for their versatility in various décors.