August Thonet's 209 chair is both highly functional and a strikingly complex design. Its aesthetic simplicity comes from stripping away every unnecessary element, until only the essential remains; the sculptural form, tapered legs and comfortable high back support. The organic structure creates the impression that it is a single piece of material. This use of lightweight steel tubing, and elaborate craftsmanship, to create the appearance of simplicity, became an obvious influence on Bauhaus and German design. The design is dictated by the materials and the process used to create it; function and form operate together. This piece is available in traditional monochrome and, if you are looking for something striking in colour as well as design, bold red and yellow.
August Thonet was the son of legendary chair designer Michael Thonet and his designs for the Thonet brand combine many different styles, approaches and technologies. August drew on his father's innovations within mass production and wood bending, but also brought his own sensibilities and further technological developments as the company entered the twentieth century. Less well known than his father's No. 18 chair, the beautiful design of the 209 chair deserves recognition for its influence and sophisticated comfort. Le Corbusier often used the chairs and said of the design that it, 'possesses nobility'.
1829 -1910 (Germany)
Born in Boppard, August Thonet was one of the early pioneers of German furniture design, using technological innovations and artistic flair to turn the useful into the beautiful. He took over his family furniture manufacturing business, Gebruder Thonet, in 1869, seeking to revolutionise the company's image. His signature style of chair, utilising dramatic, cultural curved wood frames was born out of his desire to construct a machine that could bend wood in such a way that it could be reproduced over and over again, bringing theatricality to the masses. This machine, completed in 1876, would go on to produce some of his most seminal designs, including the No. 33, which is still a mainstay of stylish dining rooms and communal areas the world over.
Sign up now to our newsletter and get 30$ off your first order, access to exclusive offers and giveaways, style tips, design news and interior inspiration.