Timeless and Timely
Mark McMenamin -- Interior Design, 9/1/2012 2:00:00 AM
Nearly two centuries after Michael Thonet established his studio in Germany, the master has arrived stateside. The long-deferred debut comes courtesy of M2L, recently named a distributor for GebrüderT 1819, the company now headed by Thonet’s fifth-generation descendants. Of course, his reputation precedes him. Who doesn’t recognize the Vienna coffee house chair?
Officially dubbed 214, it’s still produced in solid beech, using Thonet’s revolutionary bentwood process from 1859. The new version, though, offers an especially contemporary—and literal—twist on one of its legs. The line also includes Dutch architect Mart Stam’s S33, which introduced tubular steel in to the mix when the can tile vered chair, the first, appeared in 1926. Three more cantilevers are like wise framed in tubular steel: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s S 533 (1927) and Marcel Breuer’s S 32 (1929) incorporate wicker, while the molded beech-plywood seat of Stam’s S 43 (1931) can be stained or lacquered in 11 colors.
Classics to-be are available as well, such as Naoto Fukasawa’s 130 in oak and beech and Stefan Diez’s 405, which pays homage to Gebrüder’s bentwood heritage with a molded beech-plywood backrest that gently flexes with the sitter. M2L, m2l.com.