Thonet Style is named after the First Industrial Designer: Michael Thonet. He was a pioneer in the industrialization and mass production of furniture.
Who Was Michael Thonet?
Michael Thonet is considered the forerunner of furniture design and inventor of the wood bending technique. In 1819, he opened a carpentry shop and laid the foundations for industrial production. Then, in 1849, he settled in Vienna, where he founded the company “Gebrüder Thonet”. Thonet’s company quickly reached international success and with rapid expansion, produced more than 865 curved wooden chairs a year. When Michael Thonet died, his sons took over the management of the company.
Mass Produced Furniture
Until the Industrial Revolution, carpenters made furniture from raw materials, in a slow process. Therefore, the most innovative features of bentwood chairs, in Thonet’s eyes, was their expendability due to the mass production. Others quickly copied his manufacturing process, and Bentwood chairs appeared all over the planet, burgeoning the economies of Europe and the United States with a new market.
His No. 14 Chair was his first industrially mass-produced chair. Yet, it was important to create the chairs in separate parts to be assembled later, making transport much easier. Further, retailers built the chairs after they arrived at the shop, which was the first example of ‘assembly’ furniture.
Thonet Style Features
The Thonet chair used light, strong types of woods, and they had very graceful shapes were achieved through the use of hot steam. Moreover, Thonet created several designs that were unique, comfortable and long-lasting. Further, in his business model, parts for dozens of chairs could be stored into one box for shipping, which cut costs.
Image source: https://www.boisbuchet.org/collection/boppard-chair/