Sentou, who are you?

François Dorelli / Sentou

Furniture manufacturer, since 1947, and cousin of Roger Tallon, Robert Sentou followed the footsteps of the Trente Glorieuses. Genealogy of a brand with strong personalities.

Sentou, manufacturer-carpenter of Périgord

Sentou, a whole story that began one day in 1946 and bears the name of the one who created it: Robert Sentou, the life purring in the family hardware store of Bergerac interspersed with the stays of Roger Tallon, his first cousin. The designer already tracked by industrialists always has a trick, a solution, an idea to the minute. He is neither an architect, nor an engineer, nor an inventor, but he is amazed by his cousin. The opportunity for a change of life comes to him when the Bergerac penitentiary center that seeks to occupy its prisoners appealed to the population. Under the title "Bois du Périgord", Robert Sentou installs a carpentry workshop from which the first chestnut products designed by Roger Tallon.

As the business took shape, Sentou opened his own workshop in 1952, hired staff and ran at a slow local speed. Via a mandatory passage at the Salon du Meuble in Paris and the cousin's address book, contacts flock, orders increase, notoriety sets in. When it comes to a product that can be multiplied for communities, an idea to develop or custom-made to achieve it's him we come to see. It is he who makes the interior design of hotels designed by Roger Fatus, the totality of the seats commissioned by Charlotte Perriand for Le Grand Coeur in Méribel and the furniture of Pierre Chapo.

The 1970s point the nose

In innovative times, unpublished materials and lifestyle of a happy optimism. This aesthetic of everyday life demolishes the Scandinavian style and the sieved beds of Sentou become "nerdy". The case is declining. Roger Tallon who has just released the staircase "M400" cast aluminum advises other designers "in the coup". In 1969, Lionel Morgaine imagined the eponymous table made of fiberglass and lacquered metal tubes, connected to the six wooden stools.

By opening La Sentou Galerie in Paris a few years later, he hopes to get sales off the ground. The space fitted out by Roger Fatus is astral cold. Apart from architects and decorators, the clientele is rare. Among them: Marc Held, with whom Pierre Romanet works, still a student at École Boulle. Tailor-made panel orders, a great success for the agency, will be an opportunity for the young trainee to meet Mr. Sentou. A funny man, colorful, bagou. Between them sympathy is established around conversations about Charlotte Perriand. "He spoke of her as a friend, and I dreamed to know her, he had promised," recalls Pierre Romanet. He was 24 years old, Marc Held closed his agency and Mr. Sentou was looking for a buyer.

Archives that are a mine of inspiration

The recovery is made in 1991. A succession which, basically, restores a continuity since Pierre Romanet inherits archives of Robert Sentou and is the exclusive publisher. The stool "Cryptogramme" created in 1969 by Roger Tallon came out in 2002 on the occasion of an order from the FNAC - National Fund for Contemporary Art - in its intact form of mushroom.

The "Betty" oak chair from 1962 has been slightly revised for a better seat. The table "Lalinde" proposed since 2010 in nine colors, already has its fans. As for the helical staircase "M400" of 1966, it was presented in the gallery since 1977. "I use the archives like a notebook of inspiration", explains Pierre Romanet quoting the library "Bergerac" and the bed "Tatami". In other words, there is no nostalgia "we are on loves that erase others, but I have kept the democratic spirit of inheritance". Sentou builds his own story on the one that preceded it.