Anne Robinson, Karen Saxby
Celebrates the 200th anniversary of the Thonet Company, renowned for its pioneering achievements in the field of bentwood and tubular-steel furniture.
From a one-man business to a global enterprise: published to accompany a major exhibition at The New Collection in Munich, this book reflects on 200 years of furniture design as illustrated by the history of family company Thonet. The ground-breaking achievements of the early period – new technologies, new design methods, new distribution and marketing channels – are juxtaposed with developments in the 20th and early 21st centuries.
The firm founded in 1819 by Michael Thonet, a master cabinet-maker from Boppart, evolved down through the decades into one of the most important makers of bentwood furniture. Its ‘No. 14’ continues to be one of the most popular chairs to this day and is still produced in large numbers.
In the late 1920s, Thonet turned its attention to tubular steel furniture and teamed up with several Bauhaus designers who created chairs in what was then an innovative technology. As these tubular steel furniture items and the early bentwood furniture have long been part of the permanent exhibition at The New Collection, the focus of the current presentation and exhibition catalogue is on the pioneering creations by modern designers from Ed Harlis via Verner Panton through to Norman Foster, Stefan Diez, Konstantin Grcic and – most recently – Sebastian Herkner.