Why every home should have a Tam Tam stool

tam tam plastic stool lifestyle image habitat
Design Icon: Tam Tam stoolHabitat

The House Beautiful team pick a design classic we think you'll love forever – this time, the Tam Tam stool.

Who designed it?

Henry Massonnet (1922-2005), a French designer, entrepreneur and art collector who later became involved in local politics. The stool was created in 1968 using moulded plastic, a material that, at the time, was an increasingly popular choice for manufacturers.

Why we love it?

As a keen fisherman, Henry Massonnet wanted a practical perch to sit on while casting his net. He soon created the Tam Tam, with a seat that could be popped off to reveal a hollow interior, ideal for storing his raincoat and spools of hook line, while the lightweight plastic material makes it easy to carry around (perfect for transporting from shed to shoreline).

tam tam plastic stool lifestyle image habitat

While Massonnet created the stool for his own personal use, he also owned Stamp, a manufacturing business based in the east of France, and so decided to produce the stool commercially. As it turned out, the piece's appeal extended far beyond its humble beginnings as a two-in-one seat for amateur anglers, and a whopping 12 million units were sold in the first five years alone.

The playfully shaped piece, still made using its original moulds, combines with a pocket-friendly price to make this a classic that calls out for everyday use.

Pop culture: Part of the Tam Tam's success is thanks to Brigitte Bardot, the French model, singer and actress who was photographed on the stool in the 1970s and was known to have several of them in her own home.

Why you'll love it forever?

This is a piece that can be used flexibly throughout the home, as a side table in the bedroom, for example, an eye-catching footstool by the sofa or, closer to its intended use, as a cheerfully hued extra seat around the kitchen table.

In 2002, the Parisian grocery brand Branex (which was owned at the time by a furniture collector) purchased the Tam Tam's manufacturing rights and sparked a retro revival by relaunching it in a rainbow of shades including yellow, blue and green, as well as in special transparent and metallic versions. This allows the stool to work across decorative schemes, whether you choose a gold piece for an opulent room or a monochrome one in a more minimal space.

Shop the official Branex stools at Made In Design by Printemps, from about £25 each,

What makes a design icon?

For a piece to be truly iconic to the HB editors, it needs to:

  • Have longevity and really stand the test of time.

  • Illustrate innovative design, whether from the high street or a showroom.

  • Be recognisable homeware that deserves the spotlight.

  • Serve as an object of desire – beautiful, yes, but useful, too.

  • Be a piece that is used every day by House Beautiful editors.

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