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Thonet chair: history and value of a world design protagonist

Thonet chair

Throughout its long history, the Thonet chair has influenced generations of designers and enthusiasts. With their original design and innovative manufacturing process, Thonet chairs have established themselves as a revolutionary product from the very beginning.

The flexibility and lightness of these chairs, combined with their durability and carefully crafted aesthetics, have made them famous the world over. The success of these chairs is also due to their versatility: the different models designed by Thonet can be perfectly integrated in domestic and contract settings as well as in rooms furnished in a classic or contemporary style.

The history of the Thonet chair, an absolute protagonist of modern interior design

The Thonet chair is an iconic model for anyone who loves interior design. Its history has its roots in the 19th century, when the company founded by the Austrian cabinetmaker Michael Thonet revolutionised the concept of furniture with its innovative production of curved chairs. The Thonet Chair No. 14, in particular, was his most famous and distinctive creation.

Using an original and unprecedented method of steam bending wood, Thonet succeeded in creating comfortable chairs with sinuous and bold shapes, breaking with the conventions of the time. The Thonet chair soon became a symbol of the nascent Art Nouveau movement. Its unique combination of elegance and functionality decreed the enormous success of Thonet chairs, which are still loved and sought after by experts and enthusiasts today.

What makes Thonet chairs unique and instantly recognisable is their distinctive design, the result of a special woodworking method. The action of steam allows the wood to be shaped and curved into unusual and fascinating forms. The most emblematic model, the Thonet Chair No. 14, represents a perfect balance of elegance and lightness. It has a slim but strong structure and aesthetics and functionality are intertwined in a surprising way.

Thonet chair

What distinguishes the design of Thonet chairs?

What makes Thonet chairs unique is not only their design, but also the materials and production techniques used. Throughout its history, the Thonet company has experimented with different materials to produce its designer chairs, from solid wood to bentwood. A constant in Thonet’s production is the use of steam bending: the craftsmanship used by Thonet employees makes it possible to achieve extraordinary results and to create aesthetically enchanting chairs.

Through the use of steam, the wood becomes flexible enough to be bent, while maintaining a high degree of strength. The result is solid, functional chairs with a design that defies the rules of nature.

Much of the work involved in producing a Thonet chair is done by hand. The use of manual labour and the employment of workers with an in-depth knowledge of wood allow the creation of high-quality products with great attention to detail and quality of finish. The master craftsmen skilfully combine tradition and innovation to guarantee the highest quality and durability of Thonet chairs.

The choice of materials and processing techniques is also guided by the desire for environmentally sustainable production . In this sense, Thonet is committed to using wood from responsibly managed forests and to reducing the environmental impact of production.

Thonet chair

How can the style of a Thonet chair be integrated into a furniture design?

The style and influences of Thonet chairs have left a significant mark on the design landscape . The introduction of the curved lines and original shapes of Thonet chairs represented a true revolution in interior design.

Over the years, Thonet chairs, with their elegant and timeless design, have been able to adapt to different styles. If at the beginning of their history they had a significant impact on the development of Art Nouveau, they later influenced other movements such as modernism and, more recently, Scandinavian design and minimalism. Even today, thanks to their versatility and ability to integrate with different furnishing styles, Thonet chairs are a frequent choice of architects, interior designers and design enthusiasts.

In modern interior design, the Thonet chair is considered an icon, used to embellish interiors in both domestic and commercial settings. The use of wood and the use of soft, curved lines give the product a timeless elegance that is ideal for contemporary and classic interior design projects.

In the home one can count on the refinement of Thonet chairs to complete the furnishing of a reading area or to create an original relaxation zone. Thonet chairs are also an excellent solution in other rooms of the home such as the bedroom or the entrance hall, in combination with wooden furniture and decorative elements with a sober appearance.

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Il Piccolo, a second generation family business, opens its showroom in Lugano. With over 50 years of experience, Il Piccolo brings with it a wealth of technical and design knowledge of the highest level, thanks to the many interiors designed and furnished around the world. In addition, Il Piccolo represents many of the best international luxury furniture brands. We design, manufacture and sell the best in design. Also with regard to La Cornue kitchens, we follow the customer from the design to the realisation of the project, integrating the whole process with a precise and professional service.CONTACT US

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