The foundations of Artifort were laid by Jules Wagemans when he set up business as an upholsterer in Masstricht in 1890. The economic recession of the nineteen-thirties forced the furniture company, then known as H. Wagemans & Van Tuinen, to create a distinctive profile.
In 1982 the new brand name was introduced: Artifort, derived from the Latin word ‘ars’ meaning art or knowledge, and ‘fortis’ meaning strong or powerful. The word ‘comfort’ is also reflected in this brand name. And naturally, the furniture had to be distinctive too. The emphasis came to lie on functionality, comfort and quality combined with aesthetically pleasing design and an innovative use of materials.
At an international furniture show organised by Kho Liang le, Pierre Paulin (1927) made a considerable impression with a contemporary shell fauteuil. Shortly after the show, he became a freelance designer for Artifort. This marked the beginning of a long and fruitful collaboration. What makes his designs so distinctive is their striking sculptural shape, which earned Paulin many prizes worldwide. His work remains timeless and progressive even today. This is not form for form’s sake but applied design. With comfort as the constant starting-point. Artifort still includes many of Paulin’s designs dating from the nineteen-sixties and seventies in its permanent collection. His work can be admired in museums throughout the world. Apart from furniture, he also designed interiors for the French presidents Pompidou and Mitterrand in the Elysée Palace in Paris. Pierre Paulin died on 13 June 2009 in a hospital in Montpellier (France). The French president Sarkozy honoured him as “the man who made design an art”. In November 2009, Paulin was posthumously awarded the distinction of “Royal Designer for Industry” (RDI).