Original European Bentwood Furniture

“Never was there an object as elegant, as well conceived, as precise in its execution, and practical in its usage.” –Le Corbusier on Thonet’s chairs Michael Thonet, a German cabinet maker by trade, failed at experiments with glues and veneers for his furniture ideas before succeeding in creating beautiful bentwood shapes with the use of steam. Thonet was a pioneer of bentwood design, standardized manufacturing and mass production. Thonet, along with his five sons, built and expanded the bentwood furniture business, opening production factories all over Europe. The Thonets made beautiful, affordable bentwood furniture and their output was unsurpassed for the time. Their bentwood chairs and stools were a fixture of Berlin, Vienna and later, seen all over the cafes and restaurants of Europe. Thonet was a pioneer of bentwood furniture design and inspired designers like Le Corbusier, the Eames and Mies van de Rohe. Long before it became de rigueur, Thonet was a proponent of economy of materials and the idea that form follows function. The popularity of Thonet’s designs has ebbed and flowed but is again seeing a rise in popularity alongside modern design and mid-century modernism. This is likely due to the simplicity and timelessness of Thonet’s collection. Thonet created a vast catalogue of pieces from simple café chairs to elaborate rocking chairs. Thonet is responsible for many of the most recognizable and respected bentwood chair and stool designs. Thonet’s No.18 chair is widely held as they prototypical Vienna café and is still a best seller. Though Thonet made his first chair in the 1830s, he was so ahead of his time that his work is as relevant today as ever. Good design is judged by time and Thonet has proven to be one of his era’s most influential furniture designers.

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