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Thonet - Innovative design furniture

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The principle Thonet

An idea, six parts, two nuts and ten screws - that is the principle by which Michael Thonet invented mass production of furniture in the 1850s. His chair 14 (today S214) is considered one of the most successful industrial products of all time. He founded the history of modern furniture production - and at the same time one of the oldest furniture brands in the world!

Michael Thonet (1796-1871) founded his joinery in Boppard on the Rhine in 1819. Prince Metternich takes a liking to his furniture and brings Thonet to Vienna in 1842. Thonet has been instrumental in furnishing the Palais Schwarzenberg and Liechtenstein. Since 1890 the headquarter of Thonet is with disruptions located in the Hessian Frankenberg.

Thonet Kaffeehausstuhl

In the 1830s already Michael Thonet experimented with veneer strips that he cooked in glue. About twenty years later, he perfected his technique for bending solid wood. The first bentwood furniture is created, especially the famous Viennese café chair. This chair is born in 1859 and is still regarded as one of the most successful industrial furniture worldwide.

Thanks to his innovative production methods, and an extensive range of new sales concepts, the family experienced a rapid boom and receives great recognition worldwide. Since 1889 Thonet produces in seven factories in Hungary, Czech Republic, Russia and Frankenberg. The manufacturer is represented worldwide in all major cities with his own trading firm. To this day it is purely a family-owned company.

The designers of Thonet

To the developments of Michael Thonet, his sons, the brothers Thonet and his grandchildren's generation are added path-breaking designs of renowned architects and furniture designers over the decades.

  • Mart Stam (1899-1986)
  • The Dutch architect is a true pioneer: With the S33 he designed one of the first cantilever chairs in the history of furniture design in the mid-twenties. Since 1925 he experimented with gas pipes and develops the design principle of the cantilever chairs. The perfect and clear design of the chairs is more important to him than the springy effect.

  • Marcel Breuer (1902-1981)
  • The architect Marcel Breuer is one of the most important designers of modernism. In his Bauhaus period he already developed tubular steel furniture which design is path-breaking. His timeless cantilever chair S32 and S64 are among the most widely produced and famous tubular steel classics. The tubular steel desk S285 is created in 1935 and is quickly becoming an unmatched piece of contemporary history.

  • Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969)
  • As one of the world's most influential architects and former director of the Bauhaus, Mies van der Rohe designed furniture often in close connection with his buildings. For Thonet, he develops the S533 in 1927 which provides maximum seating comfort thanks to its permanently elastic suspension. With elegant lines and transparent effects the design combines timeless aesthetics with functionality.

  • Stefan Diez
  • After his time as an assistant to Richard Sapper and Konstantin Grcic the graduate industrial designer Stefan Diez opened his own design studio in Munich in 2003. He is fascinated by Thonet's approach, to bend wood as if it had grown anew. The multi-award winning designer creates a wooden chair program (S404 / S404F, tables 1403/1404) for Thonet which clearly refers to the bentwood heritage but transformed it in aesthetic terms.

The products by Thonet

Thonet S32

An indispensable piece of furniture history is still the coffee house chair S214, which is offered with armrests also in the version S215. By 1930 incredible 50 million copies were produced. The classic S32 combines tubular steel and wood with cane, letting the hearts of the Bauhaus followers beat faster.

However, the contemporary designs of Thonet know how to convince: After important designers like Le Corbusier and representatives of the Bauhaus follow contemporary designers like Hadi Teherani, James Irvine and Norman Foster, who follow up the tradition and way of thinking of the founder. The result is a product range in which there is much to discover.

For further informations please visit www.thonet.de