Michael Thonet

1796-1871 (Germany - Austria)

German designer, Michael Thonet was a skilled furniture craftsman who revolutionised the wood industry when he discovered a new method of bending timber. His painstaking explorations into the limitations and flexibility of wood led to some of the 20th century’s most important advances in materials technology. By 1900, Thonet’s experiments made it possible to make curved furniture from any type of wood, even fragile varieties. He patented a process of bending several layers of wood veneer under heat, which were glued together and then laminated. He used the new shaped materials to create curved chair backs, headboards for beds and arms for sofas. Thonet’s legacy cannot be underestimated. His techniques are still in operation today and Le Corbusier used Thonet furniture in his Pavilion de l'Esprit Nouveau at the 1925 Paris Exhibition. To this day, Thonet’s curved beech chairs with woven cane seats and backs are still just as popular as they were over a hundred years ago. The most iconic being the No. 18 Chair, a more comfortable revision of the earlier No. 14 Chair.

“Never was a better and more elegant design and a more precisely crafted and practical item created.”

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