Our latest project is slowly coming along
The Thonet chairs were part of my childhood – they were in the school, in the local pub, my grandma had them at the kitchen table, in the music hall they were used for the audience. People repainted them in all kinds of colors, the wicker seat was mended with cable or sisal string, legs were glued back in place. I thought it was the most common thing – a normal chair – and learnt about the rich history behind it much later. Below are few interiors from the internet to illustrate how the Thonet chairs stack in the modern interior design world.
Thonet Model no.14
Let’s start with one of the most famous chairs, Thonet’s Model 14 so called bistro or cafe chair, not only for its vast popularity and elegant shape but also because for its strong ties to Czechoslovakia.
The original model was designed by a young carpenter of a German descent Michael Thonet in Wien in 1859 who built a factory in Moravia for steam bending of wood which was then a progressive shaping method behind the light and elegant curved chairs. His Model 14 became so popular in Wien, and later on became the iconic chair of Parisian cafes, that he built a whole bent-wood furniture emporium which he later passed onto his 5 sons. They added 5 more factories in Czechoslovakia, one of them in Bystrice pod Hostynem is still operating as TON – bent-wood furniture factory.
Model no.14 was made of bent beach wood, actually six pieces of steam-bent wood (later after adding two strengthening braces eight pieces), ten screws, and two nuts and a seat which was made of cane work or palm weaving. It is considered the most successful mass produced product in the world to date with more than 80 million sold chairs. Today you can still buy them in different colors and seat material combinations from two of the Thonet’s factory successors – TON and German Thonet.