Chair Tuesday: Thonet No. 14




Today's chair is the ubiquitous Thonet model number 14, also just know as the "Cafe chair" due to its astounding popularity in cafes, restaurants, bistros and bars world over.  Often copied and with several slight variations, this is one chair that has really stood the test of time as it dates back to the fifties/sixties... not the 1960s as a lot of classic design chairs are from, but rather a century before that in the 1860s!

It was designed my Michael Thonet, who became famed for his bent-wood furniture and successful company which still produces great furniture to this day. Its beauty lies in the simplicity and functionality -- the nature of production meant that unskilled workers could make them (instead of the master carpenters that would usually make furniture at the time) meaning that production costs went down. In effect it was pretty much the first mass-produced chair.  The small number of materials used (famously "six pieces of bent wood, ten screws and two nuts") also kept the cost down meaning that more cafes could afford them and use them, and the fact that there are no flat surfaces on it means that when drinks were spilled they drained off easily.

Not to mention it is also quite nice to sit on and look at.  Very elegant with its sweeping back rest and poised legs, it is one of the few truly timeless chairs - even in hot pink.