Among the many design parts manufactured by GROUPE MAILLARD INDUSTRIE (GMI), there is one that systematically arouses curiosity: the Fondue Tree, marketed by STAAF which has been creating this original furniture concept for and has been working with GMI for 10 years now, to produce it in large quantities. The idea dates back to the 2007 America’s Cup, where STAFF needed to offer a simple, user-friendly catering solution to encourage interaction: the Fondue Tree was born and, given its success, was destined for a promising future.

As its name suggests, this original stand-up table offers the possibility of enjoying a convivial fondue in places that are as unusual as they are improbable. The several storages located around its main axis allow you to place glasses, plates, trays, and to keep the appropriate bottle of wine cool.

With its very pure shape and its resolutely modern and chic look, this furniture is very often used for gastronomic or thematic evenings in restaurants, in the open air on the top of mountains or in the middle of nature for festivals or sport events.

Straight out of the production workshops of Groupe Maillard Industrie, known for its expertise in plastics processing (thermoforming and rotational molding), this all-plastic furniture takes shape in Autechaux, in the Doubs region and its manufacture is always impressive.

The process begins with plastic powder of different colours (red, green, blue, purple, etc.) introduced into a steel mould of tree shape. The powder is placed manually in this mould, which is more than 1.50 m long. The mould, which is attached to a rotating arm, then enters into a giant oven and continues to rotate in order to distribute the material evenly over the walls of the mould. The process is calibrated to the minute and more than mastered by expert operators on the subject. Once the heating time is over, the mould, which is still rotating, goes into a cooling room.

Then comes the unmolding operation, and it is always so magical to see this superb coloured piece coming out of the mold that is unbolted, like a sarcophagus which is opened to discover its treasure.

The freshly unmoulded piece is then transferred to the finishing workshops where it will be pampered and magnified: dust cleaning, deburring, sometimes fitting an interior LED light, integration of the bottle bucket and packaging.

This high quality product is robust, UV and weather resistant, like the many furniture and design pieces produced by GMI. Indeed, the design office, with its thirty engineers and technicians, is the source of many innovations and inventions and carries out nearly 2,000 studies per year, i.e. no less than 40,000 hours. Therefore GMI creates 750 new products for the industrial and design sectors every year.


And here are the manufacturing secrets of these magnificent Fondue Trees in pictures: