Boulle School Ruhlmann Workshop : E.J. Ruhlmann design team

Version française de cet article Boulle School Ruhlmann WorkshopBoulle School Ruhlmann Workshop, Maxime Old learning period.


Up to the end of his middle school years, Maxime Old was a good schoolboy, the son of an artisan specializing in cabinet-making.

Entering the Boulle School initiated a period of change, and it was the beginning of a number of minor “initiatives” that broke away from the disciplinary boundaries of the period. His academic marks were stellar, and the school administration tolerated the young fellow’s escapades which were evidence of his intrepid temperament.

He formed friendships with Emile Bonnoron, his assistant from 1945 until the end of his career, and with Pierre Simon, son of Marc Simon, who was noted in particular for cruiseliner furniture manufacturing. Pierre initiated Maxime to skiing. Maxime brought his two friends with him to English lessons, which was unheard of in those days. Maxime dreamed of working for some time in the United States. However, the death of his father prevented him from taking off.

In 1928, Maxime’s final project attracted the attention of the famous Jacques-Emile Ruhlman who was at the height of his career at that time. Maxime, top student of his class, then joined Ruhlmann as a contributing designer in his prestigious workshop.

His association with Ruhlmann’s study center from 1928 to 1933 gave him the opportunity to blossom: here, as everyone now knows, he was able to achieve his personal goal and become a creative force and not just a manufacturer.

He was a regular in artistic circles and he made rather quiet and sensible contact with the various strands of artisitc thought.

His unique perspective on modernity was being forged throughout these days, and he stood steadfastly by his vision. It was informed by the reflections imparted by different schools, including Bauhaus, UAM, etc., yet he refused to surrender his individuality. In his choices, he was a free agent throughout his life, and he would remain open with respect to new ideas and cultures.

From his work with Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann, he retained two lifelong lessons. The first was the example of the “Patron”, meaning total artistic, qualitative and organizational commitment. The second was in direct opposition to the particularly prominent “Master” Ego. Maxime would maintain his sense of simplicity and an uncompromising critical spirit regarding himself and his creations.

Ruhlmann was a real “tyrant” with a number of his designers, forcing them to “toil away” for a week straight over a single curving line on the foot of a chair. Maxime however enjoyed a certain elevated status and he was allowed to sign his name to his own creations during this period. A prime example is the luxury apartment on the cruiseliner Atlantique designed and created entirely by Maxime Old in the year 1930.

Saint-Nazaire ecomuseum, port where most french atlantique ocean liners have been built, adds Maxime Old decarated the reference 22 luxury suite out of the height ones on the liner Atlantique. The mural gloss art in the loung is from Gaston Priou.

Here below the blueprint for the suite and the pictures lended thanks to the ecomuseum.

Are you looking for certified present releases of Maxime Old Modern Art Furniture? All about them is here.