10. May 2019

Thonet & Design

From a one-man busi­ness to a glob­al enter­prise: We reflect on 200 years of fur­ni­ture design as illus­trat­ed by the his­to­ry of fam­i­ly com­pa­ny Thonet. The ground­break­ing achieve­ments of the ear­ly peri­od – new tech­nolo­gies, new design meth­ods, new dis­tri­b­u­tion and mar­ket­ing chan­nels – are jux­ta­posed to devel­op­ments in the 20th and ear­ly 21st century.

The firm found­ed in 1819 by Michael Thonet, a mas­ter cab­i­net-mak­er from Bop­part, evolved down through the decades into one of the most impor­tant mak­ers of bent­wood fur­ni­ture. Its “No. 14” con­tin­ues to be one of the most pop­u­lar chairs to this day and is still pro­duced in large num­bers. In the late 1920s, Thonet turned its atten­tion to tubu­lar steel fur­ni­ture and teamed up with sev­er­al Bauhaus design­ers who cre­at­ed chairs in what was then an inno­v­a­tive tech­nol­o­gy. As these tubu­lar steel fur­ni­ture items and the ear­ly bent­wood fur­ni­ture have long been part of the per­ma­nent exhi­bi­tion at Die Neue Samm­lung, the focus of the cur­rent pre­sen­ta­tion is on the pio­neer­ing cre­ations by mod­ern design­ers from Ed Harlis via Vern­er Pan­ton through to Nor­man Fos­ter, Ste­fan Diez, Kon­stan­tin Grcic and – most recent­ly – Sebas­t­ian Herkn­er. For the design of the exhi­bi­tion we were able to engage the ser­vices of Munich design­er Stef­fen Kehrle, who in this con­text is also design­ing a seat espe­cial­ly for Die Neue Sammlung.

Thonet & Design
Die Neue Samm­lung – The Design Muse­um, Pinakothek der Mod­erne, Bar­er Str. 40, 80333 München
May 17, 2019 – Feb­ru­ary 2, 2020