In 2022, Rinck turns 181. Nearly two centuries of history that have seen an ever-increasing number of projects. It goes without saying that the company has designed and produced an incalculable number of desks during this time. Let’s look at just of few of them, those that are perhaps the most emblematic. Before we begin, though, an observation: After diving into our archives for the purposes of this article, it became clear that custom-made desks could be divided into two categories. First, power desks designed for ministers, presidents, chairpersons, or other public decision-makers. These are frequently in the Louis XV, Louis XVI, or Empire style, as if our politicians needed to maintain a foothold in France’s fortitude. Then, at the other end of the spectrum, desks related to economic activity. Uncluttered, streamlined desks, often modernist or at least in keeping with the times.
In the first genre, large Louis XV desks frequently appear, the type used in France’s seats of power, Matignon and the Elysée. One in particular was presented by Rinck at the Cologne Furniture Fair in 1960. Museum-quality bronze trim, including superb espagnolettes on each of the four corners, a leather-sheathed desktop, and foliate sabots - all the classics of the genre are found on this desk, one whose cousins have furnished the antechambers of French government since the 18th century.
Another example is the Empire-style desk created for the first President of the Republic of Senegal, Léopold Sedar Senghor. A piece reproduced from a model by Malmaison and which the magazine Mobilier et Décoration described (in French) in 1962 as follows : “In Cuban mahogany with a morocco leather top stamped with gold vignettes. Alongside this desk, chiseled bronzes, a bookcase, rectangular and round tables, a sofa, and armchairs in the same style form an ensemble that received the most enthusiastic praise prior to being shipped to Africa.”
Conversely, a few years earlier, in 1954, Rinck designed and produced the desk of the Chief Executive of Éditions des Revues de France, a national magazine publishing conglomerate, in a more contemporary style, with a curved piece of Indian rosewood. The same modern flair was used for the National Statistics Bureau of France in 1958, with elegant ash tables and chairs with classic lines, but of a simplicity inspired by the waning days of Art Deco.
But what about private individuals ? In fact, in the 20th century, Rinck often created its most interesting pieces for this client category with, for example, in 1931, a “studio chez Monsieur M.”, featuring a table-bureau, and, “chez Monsieur L.”, a one-piece sofa wall unit in which we find the associations aimed at maximizing the use of space that was so important in this decade that saw the emergence of modernism. The following year, it was an office interior for Madame Darl’mat, wife of the automobile designer and car-body builder, one of Rinck’s most loyal customers in the last century. In the private projects of the 1930s, we can also mention the bookcase desk in varnished kingwood, with simple Art Deco lines, without excess of style.
In 1950, in a work typical of the reconstruction years in post-war France, Rinck presented at the Salon des Arts Ménagers a sycamore ensemble for a small apartment, with a wall-mounted desk that saves as much space as possible. And we still find in the archives a very modern 1964 design for a corner desk in rosewood. A few years later, in 1973, the company presented a very contemporary collection for the last time at the SNBA (Salon de la Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts) before entering a phase influenced by the return of period furniture in the 1980s.