Sebastian Herkner interprets the “Frankfurt Chair” in a contemporary way for Thonet
Minimalistic and honest while at the same time graceful and sophisticated: the 118 is a classic wooden chair which ensures subtle elegance at any dining table or in any restaurant. With his new chair design for Thonet, which premiered at imm cologne 2018, Sebastian Herkner pays homage to the diversified heritage of the company. Based on the principle of reducing a chair to the fewest elements possible, which Michael Thonet developed in the mid-19th century, Herkner takes this ethos one step further with the 118: the sought-after designer adds refined details to the simplicity prevalent in current chair design, making his design less stark and more polished.
The new 118 chair references the iconic 214, the archetype of a Thonet chair, by virtue of a seat frame bent from a single piece of wood and with the wicker caned seat. (Optionally, the 118 is also offered with a moulded seat.) The shape of the legs also distinguishes the design: rounded at the back and characterised by subtle edges at the front, they reference the horseshoe shape of the seat. The incline of the back panel is perfectly coordinated with the seat and ensures optimum seating comfort. The chair 118 is available in natural beech and in lacquered or stained versions.
For the development of the 118, Sebastian Herkner honoured Thonet history, but also addressed questions raised by the 1929 Frankfurt “Der Stuhl” exhibition during the Bauhaus era, when the search for the “new chair” was at the height of the design agenda, in order to meet the demand for seating more compatible with the lifestyles and rhythms of modern people (as Fritz Wichert, then director of the Frankfurt School of Art, stated it in the exhibition catalogue.) Thonet was also represented by numerous designs at this exhibition, which aimed to “invite and inspire complementation”. As a versatile all-rounder, the new 118 is in line with this notion of multi-purpose seating, a key criteria for participating in “Der Stuhl” at the time.
Another source of inspiration for Sebastian Herkner was the “Frankfurt Chair”, which was also developed by Thonet in the 1930s and used as a universal chair for many years, a distinctive and solidly constructed design that enjoyed great popularity. Herkner, referring to his home town, likes to call his new design for Thonet the “Offenbach Chair”.
2018 begins a year of anticipation and preparation for two very important events in 2019: the company will celebrate its 200th anniversary by demonstrating its unique and enduring spirit of innovation combined with outstanding quality (as exemplified by this new chair), and also the anniversary of the Bauhaus, with which Thonet is closely associated and which celebrates its centenary in 2019. .
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