...And also reawaken an interest in furniture design: Stam and Bruchhäuser agreeing a never realised cooperation, while in 1979 Thonet released with Stam's S 67 a reworking of Marcel Breuer's S 64, and also developing a prototype for a cantilever wingbacked armchair... The S 67 F is on page 213, but also appears to be the similar to a proposals for TECTA (page210/211) and also a 1938/39 chair for Thonet (page 143) Essentially Stam takes Breuer's single piece chair and separates it into frame and armrest segments, and that, arguably, not particularly elegantly, the vertical tubes behind the backrest tending to stand there a bit lost...
Thonet can look back on a proud company history, one based on highest carpentry tradition, innovation and lasting success. At the end of the 19th century Michael Thonet's bentwood production process revolutionised the production of chairs and armchairs: Thonet's most famous furniture pieces include the classic Coffee House Chair No. 14 by Michael Thonet and the Bauhaus furniture such as Mart Stam's cantilever chair S 43 or the chair S 32/S 64 by the famous Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer. The furniture manufacturer Thonet was founded following the relocation of the Thonet family to Vienna in 1859. With the introduction of Chair No. 14, Thonet soon developed into a renowned manufacturer whose designer chairs and designer tables were produced under the most modern conditions. Parallel to the transfer of the company to the sons' of founder Michael Thonet, the company moved in new directions through the early 20th century, in particular in cooperation with Bauhaus students and teachers such as Marcel Breuer or Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Thus, in the 1920s, the Thonet were at the forefront of a move towards a more functional furniture design: classic tubular steel furniture from the Bauhaus era, which has lost none of its popularity and significance, still forms the foundation of this long-established company. One which today produces its furniture with the same love for handcraft and original design it always has. Amongst the more recent additions to the Thonet portfolio are modern versions of classic objects such as Sebastian Herkner's 118, an addition which expands and deepens the range of Thonet furniture for both the domestic and project markets.
The Thonet Family
The history of the Thonet furniture company dates back to 1819. In that year Michael Thonet founded his workshop in Boppard am Rhein and quickly established a first-class reputation: one Thonet would maintain for almost 200 years. In 1942 the company moved to Vienna and 10 years later Michael Thonet transferred the company to his sons as the company "Gebrüder Thonet". By the end of the 19th century, the furniture company had expanded worldwide - numerous factories, showrooms and sawmills were founded throughout the old and new Worlds. However, with the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy Thonet itself went into crisis and was merged in the 1920s with the Mundus AG and later with Jacob and Joseph Kohn. The advent of Bauhaus and the associated production of tubular steel furniture saw a revival of the companys' fortunes at beginning of the 20th century. In 1938, the shares in Thonet Mundus AG were bought back by the Thonet family. After World War II the majority of the Thonet factories were nationalised but the factory in Frankenberg (Oder) was rebuilt by Georg Thonet. With the appointment of Claus Thonet as member of the executive board, the fifth generation of the family finally joined the management in 1972. From 1976, the Austrian and German parts of the company were continued. independently Today, Peter Thonet leads the family business, which was renamed in 2006 from "Gebrüder Thonet" to "Thonet GmbH".
Long-lasting products thanks to first-class quality
Thonet furniture has always been characterized by excellent quality and extreme durability. On the one hand, the timeless design of Thonet furniture, which, for example, in the case of the design classics by Marcel Breuer, have not lost none of their topicality since its inception, as well as the high quality of the materials and the excellent production. In addition, Thonet furniture is highly respectful of the environment, both during production and in the rare event that it is disposed of.
With a view to the future, sustainability is a core component of all of Thonet's corporate decisions. In particular, new product concepts are therefore carefully checked for recyclability, sustainability and environmental friendliness of the materials. The company now draws 100 percent of its electricity from sustainable energy sources. In order to make a further contribution to reducing the ecological footprint, Thonet has also invested in recycling systems for solvents.
Certified environmental management
Thonet's certified environmental management holds its own in international comparison and is based on the three pillars of economic sustainability, ecological sustainability and social sustainability. All Thonet employees are trained in accordance with these guidelines and undertake to act accordingly. The company communicates clear targets and reports annually on the environmental targets it has achieved. In 2020, water consumption, energy consumption, the amount of waste and CO2 emissions were significantly reduced compared to the previous year.
Made in Germany
Thonet has been producing furniture for over 200 years, furniture which today are all Made in Germany. With an unbroken passion for materials and craftsmanship, the Thonet design icons and contemporary Thonet furniture are created at the factory in Frankenberg. Production there is carried out according to the highest quality standards in several production steps that combine the most modern production technologies and traditional craftsmanship.
Selected and sustainable materials
A wide variety of materials and colours are employed by Thonet, and which are individually identified for each product, the selection of which being subject to systematic quality and environmental management. For example, all woods are FSC or PFSC-certified and the water-soluble stains used by Thonet contain less than 2 percent solvents. Leather comes exclusively from Europe and is tanned and dyed according to strict ecological guidelines. All textiles processed by Thonet have an abrasion rate of 25,000 or higher and are therefore particularly resistant and durable. The cane used by Thonet is a natural product made of rattan, which grows as a tropical climbing plant in the jungles of Indonesia and is neither bleached nor dyed.
Browse through the current Thonet brochures for even more inspiration:
smow sells exclusively originals from licensed manufacturers and is an official trading partner of Thonet.
More about 'Thonet' in our blog
...And which brings us to the Thonet Test... Furniture from Thonet at the Grassimuseum Leipzig, the Thonet Test is a very poorly defined test which in essence poses the question if an exhibition devoted to a particular manufacturer, and/or sponsored by a manufacturer featured in the exhibition, is just advertising for that manufacturer?...
...On December 10th 1869 Gebrüder Thonet voluntarily relinquished their 1856 Privilege in respect of "The manufacture of chairs and table legs made of bent wood, the bending facilitated by the action of steam or simmering liquids"; thereby ending not only a thirteen year monopoly during which time Thonet became a firmly established global brand, but also the culmination of a neigh on three decade story which highlights the importance of patent protection in the furniture industry... A carpenter by trade, Michael Thonet began experimenting with bending wood veneers in his native Boppard am Rhein in the early 1830s, and therefore at that period when veneer was not only becoming increasingly popular in Europe, but when the introduction of mechanised production methods was making it ever more readily and cost effectively available; as such, one can understand his experimentation as an attempt to develop processes which allowed for meaningful expressions of the potential of that material, if you will to allow carpentry to move in new directions, for all in terms of furniture production...
...In addition Ferdinand Kramer realised numerous furniture projects in cooperation with Thonet, most famously arguably being his B403 bentwood chair, while in context of his tenure at Frankfurt University Ferdinand Kramer designed, pretty much, all the furniture and furnishings... This process, which today is particularly important, is not only historically interesting: it alone explains the immense sales of the Thonet industry, and provides a very interesting reference for the further development of rationalisation in the furniture industry...
One of the biggest challenges facing product designers in coming years will undoubtedly be the question of planned obsolescence. For while we genuinely believe that the majority of designers understand their responsibilities in terms of sustainability and...
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