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Thonet




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 S 43 Classic looks as contemporary today as it did when almost a century ago


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".

A Thonet family picture


The classic Coffee House Chair No. 214 from the year 1859

Part of the Thonet family since 2018: the 118 dining chair


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

100 Years of Positionable Light @ the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe Hamburg

...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?...

IMM Cologne 2020: High Five!!

...520 by Marco Dessí for Thonet For all the associations of bentwood furniture with open, airy, reduced forms, as the exhibition Bentwood and Beyond at the MAK Vienna neatly explains, in their early years Thonet produced a lot of upholstered bentwood furniture... According to Marco Dessí a major influence for the 520 is the Thonet 209 from 1900, a work which audaciously sends an armrest ring sweeping down from the top of the backrest, and while we get the association with the 209, we're also sensing the spirit of some of Adolf Schneck's early 20th century works for Thonet, and also something new...

Bentwood and Beyond. Thonet and Modern Furniture Design @ the MAK – Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna

...One such being inarguably Michael Thonet... Thonet and Modern Furniture Design the MAK – Museum für angewandte Kunst Vienna navigate the history of that tributary and explore its legacy and contemporary relevance, and relationship, to the course of furniture design...

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for December 2019

...Thonet and Modern Furniture Design" at the MAK – Museum für angewandte Kunst, Vienna, Austria As oft discussed in these dispatches, whereas the Thonet (hi)story begins in Boppard it's crescendo was in Vienna, and in many regards with works such as the chair Nr... 14, the so-called coffee house chair, Thonet contributed as much to the (hi)story of Vienna as Vienna did to the (hi)story of Thonet; consequently, it is very fitting that the city's Museum für angewandte Kunst should mark the 200th anniversary of Michael Thonet establishing his first workshop in Boppard with an exhibition dedicated to exploring Thonet's contribution to the development of furniture design: developments and a contribution whose crescendo emanated from the family workshop in Vienna-Gumpendorf, and which continues to resonate today...

Thonet & Design @ Die Neue Sammlung - The Design Museum, Munich

...Can it be a coincidence that Boppard's most famous son, Michael Thonet, is most popularly known for his curving bentwood chairs?... What is less contentious is that the flow and meandering of first Michael Thonet's creativity and vigour and subsequently that of the company Thonet has carved its mark not only on the Rhenish Massif furniture design and on understandings of furniture, but also the furniture industry, from production to sales and distribution...


All 'Thonet' Posts