Simply legendary: the unique success story of Thonet''s original Vienna Coffee House Chair 214

THONET
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“Pure Materials” collection in regional ash wood

According to legend, the following incident happened during the World Exhibition in Paris in 1867: Michael Thonet''s chair no. 14 fell from the Eiffel Tower 57 metres to the ground – and survived the fall. The robustness of the chair – proven by more than just this remarkable incident – combined with its elegant, no-frills form and the revolutionary possibility for serial production contributed greatly to the unparalleled success of this chair. In 1862, the coffee house chair, known today as model 214, won the bronze medal at the London World Exhibition and the gold medal at the Paris World Exhibition in 1867. By 1930, Thonet had sold 50 million chairs; to this day, the world''s most famous chair continues to fascinate. Over the decades Thonet has produced many different versions of this piece of furniture – most recently, in the beginning of 2015, the chair no. 214 was for the first time brought to market in the “Pure Materials” collection in regional ash wood.

The success story of chair no. 14 began in 1841 with an invitation from the Austrian House, Court and State Chancellor Clemens Prince Metternich, who had heard of Michael Thonet''s experiments with bent wood and invited the young man from Boppard in the Rhineland region to Vienna. Thonet soon succeeded in bending solid wood as well: long wooden rods were made flexible with pressure and steam and then bent into the desired form with special equipment and muscle power. The threedimensional forming of solid wood was a sensation at the time. Soon, orders for the Palais Liechtenstein and the Palais Schwarzenberg followed. Today''s iconic 214 quickly became a symbol of the Vienna coffee house culture. However, the chair''s enormous success was due not only to the constantly growing project business but also the innovative production process, which for the first time enabled the industrial serial production of chairs. It was a veritable milestone in the history of furniture production. Chair no. 14 could be produced in a work-sharing process and fully disassembled into just six elements. 36 chairs could be packed in a one cubic metre box, shipped to anywhere in the world and assembled on site. The history of modern furniture was underway. To this day, the original coffee house chair with model number 214 (formerly no. 14) is still produced by Thonet GmbH in Frankenberg, Hesse.

Simply legendary: the unique success story of Thonet''s original Vienna Coffee House Chair 214

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