"Better to work 10 days on one product than to manufacture 10 products in one day." Weiner Werkstattee-a workshop community of visual artists of which Hoffman was part of.”
Hoffmann is one of the seminal figures in the modern decorative arts movement of the first half of the 20th century. In the early 20th century, Vienna was fast becoming a nexus of activity for designers and architects like Josef Hoffmann. Hoffmann, a founding member of the Vienna Secession, together with Koloman Moser, created the Wiener Werkstatte, (or Vienna Workshop)a cooperative production community of visual artists. Hoffman created many items for the Wiener Werkstätte like designer chairs. Hoffmann's style later became more restrained and abstract and he limited himself increasingly to functional structures and domestic products.
While influenced by the Arts and Crafts Movement, Hoffmann's work embraced the advent of the industrial age and concentrated on abstract and geometric shapes. Hoffman did not reject traditional decoration as a rule but he did force it to serve structural principles which he advanced should determine the form of buildings, interiors and objects. Hoffman’s move toward abstraction and away from traditional Arts and Crafts set a major precedent for the modern architecture that would develop in the first half of the 20th century, in the early work of architects like Le Corbusier.
Josef Hoffman conceived of his early work as completepieces of art producing both free-standing and built-in furniture for his interiors, pared-down rectilinear pieces, elongated to emphasize their structural role. Hoffmann showed an affinity for and command of the simple, restrained, yet visually interesting dining chairs, several intended for cafés, that he designed early in the 20th century. His "birdhouse" chair, as an example, highlights his way of using a decorative feature to emphasize structure. He died in Vienna in 1956.