You’ve Seen Them Everywhere, Now See How Fermob Outdoor Furniture Is Made

Le Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris in the springtime is something to behold. The tree-lined gardens brim with Parisians seemingly doing nothing and everything all at once. Amongst throngs of children gleefully frolicking and influencers posing and promenading, countless coteries of sunbathers, readers, artists, students, and seniors spill out into every slice of the park to enjoy a relaxed outlook of life, many seated comfortably for just an hour or two from green powder coated aluminum chairs licensing such laconic leisure.

The Senat chair made by French outdoor furniture brand Fermob in 1923 seems to be everywhere you look: in intimate pairs, lined along footpaths seemingly awaiting a parade, darkened into silhouettes underneath trees, arranged in circles of impromptu outdoor classrooms. The chairs are there for everyone to use; people regularly move the heavy iron metal seats across the park as needed and desired, positioned for face-to-face socializing or angled for privacy, for sitting, or used as a lounge with two bridging across from one another. The Senat Chair, now the Luxembourg Side Chair, is beloved for their comfortable slat backrest and seat, ergonomic enough for a few hours of hunched reading, slouched resting, or to simply observe life pass by in whatever position most natural to its occupant… a seat la vie that was later reinterpreted by Frederic Sofia into the similar but slighter weight aluminum-built Luxembourg Collection.

Side by side photos of Fermob Studie and Luxembourg Chairs in Lapilli Grey.

Side by side photos of Fermob Studie and Luxembourg Chairs in the brand’s newest 2023 hue, Lapilli Grey. Imagined to evoke stone, its neutral matte and textured finish joins 21 other metal color options.

Four empty Fermob’s Luxembourg Collection chairs staged in Paris in Luxembourg Park.

A quiet quartet of Fermob Luxembourg Side Chairs with the Luxembourg Palace and the Grand Bassin in the background. \\\ Photo: Gregory Han

Similarly, Fermob has made an urban imprint across the ocean in New York City – specifically inhabiting Bryant Park with great success. Credit Andrew Manshel, who in 1992 spearheaded Bryant Park Restoration Corporation’s effort to revitalize the public space by introducing thousands of Fermob Bistro Classic Chairs into the proverbial wild of New York City’s once most notorious park. Despite their sleight, cross-legged fawn stance and 1889-born French origins, New Yorkers adopted the Bistro chairs and tables as their very own. In turn these cafe-born sets transformed the park’s landscape into an environment of relaxed conviviality from the seedy, illicit spirit that previously inhabited Bryant Park’s every corners.

A four square of photos of the Fermob Bistro chair and tables in various outdoor settings.

Left out in similar fashion to their Parisian counterparts for locals and tourists alike to enjoy as they please – unbolted and welcome to be rearranged – the chairs have become symbolic of the social contract between the city and its citizens, one born of trust and offering a respite from the hustle and bustle of the New York minute. And in the process they’ve become synonymous with America’s own love affair with the concept of joie de vivre.

Fermob Luxembourg Chair staged against a multicolored abstract shape backdrop with a crescent window with bars overhead.

As a longtime fans of the longstanding documentary television series How It’s Made, we were delighted with the invitation to gain access behind Fermob’s factory doors to observe the labors required to manufacture both of the ubiquitous pieces of outdoor furniture of global renown in person.

Four of Fermob's factory team in red t-shirts posing with Fermob outdoor furniture.

Fermob representative showing how metal pieces are bent and assembled into outdoor furniture slats.

Photo: Gregory Han

Red hot metal clamps being pulled out from furnace, intended to attach bent back tubing of the Bistro chair and table.

Man hammering red hot metal clamps securing bent back tubing of the Bistro chair and table.

Each Fermob metal chair and table reveal the unique imprint of hand assembly. “We only add new machines when we absolutely need to,” noted our assembly line tour guide as he invited us to watch as red hot metal clamps were bent and secured onto the steel rod framing of the ornate Montmartre chair.

It didn’t hurt this assembly process unfolds in the bucolic countryside of France, where the brand’s iconic emblem of French life along with a wider breadth of outdoor furnishing are all manufactured/assembled by a seasoned team of 260 employees and 80 temporary workers (40% of Fermob’s workforce is notably composed of women, many empowered to work on the assembly line due to the lightweight construction of machined steel and even lighter aluminum furniture).

Woman in red t-shirt hammering back support of mesh and metal frame Fermob chair into place within factory setting.

Two women in factor assembling Fermob outdoor chairs with mesh backs.

Photo: Gregory Han

Man in welding masking welding together aluminum armless chair.

Our small group of journalists followed various pieces of steel and aluminum as they made their way across the factory floor to be stretched, bent, melted, smoothed, attached, assembled, and eventually painted one of twenty-two nature-inspired hues. While large industrial machines occupied certain sections of Fermob’s operations, a human touch was always there to interject and leave its imprint, most noticeably across the company’s larger aluminum and steel outdoor chairs and tables.

Assembly line of hanging unpainted Fermob Studie chairs waiting to be painted.

Assembly line of unpainted Fermob Studie chairs waiting to be painted. Designed by Tristan Lohner, the 100% aluminum Studie would go onto win the Red Dot: Best of the Best in 2022. \\\ Photo: Gregory Han

Assembly line of hanging Fermob Bistro chairs freshly painted and dried.

Yellow dry paint being sprayed onto Fermob Luxembourg Chair base.

Because Fermob’s painting process uses dry particle paint, excess overspray is easily cleaned by air alone to be reused.

Yellow dry paint being sprayed onto Fermob Montmartre Chair base.

Painting – a process that could be fully automated by robotic means – is assigned a painter to ensure sections easily missed/overlooked by machines are fully covered before eventually sending their way to be baked into a durable, vibrant protective finish.

Fermob’s success amongst New Yorkers and other Francophiles has emboldened the brand to make a concerted push to increase brand awareness amongst American urban and suburban dwellers seeking to bring a little of the romanticism associated with the Parisian lifestyle.

Fermob New York City showroom interior

Photo: Gregory Han

A great of Fermob’s current efforts are dedicated to expanding into outdoor lighting, with an emphasis in rechargeable LED light lanterns. The brand’s New York showroom is their first retail outreach to see, touch, and sit upon their catalog of outdoor furnishings.

Fermob CEO Baptiste Reybier speaking at the Fermob hosted annual Design Talks.

Fermob Chief Operating Officer Baptiste Reybier speaking at the company’s annual design talks advocating the importance of public placemaking before introducing former director of the Bryant Park Restoration Corporation, Andrew Manshel. \\\ Photo: Gregory Han

Manshel went onto write a book documenting his efforts in public placemaking. In his Learning from Bryant Park: Revitalizing Cities, Towns, and Public Spaces the urban optimist cites the success of Bryan Park to the “triumph of small ideas,” a point he would go onto emphasize necessary today and tomorrow, as it was over three decades ago. And what is a chair but a minor triumph against fatigue from the comforts of a slightly reclined position.

All photos provided by Fermob except where credited.

Gregory Han is the Managing Editor of Design Milk. A Los Angeles native with a profound love and curiosity for design, hiking, tide pools, and road trips, a selection of his adventures and musings can be found at

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