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Bentwood Chairs

The elegant bentwood 214 chair, originally created by Michael Thonet in 1859 has been re-imagined in three different ways.

The bentwood ‘214’ chair is a design icon that has graced countless cafes all over the world (it’s also affectionately known as ‘the bistro chair’). Launched in 1859 by German designer Michael Thonet, it was made in numerous factories in various European countries, including Austria, Germany and Hungary. Thonet adopted this strategy for three reasons: the was following sources of beech wood, a material well suited to his groundbreaking steam-bending technique; avoiding import duties; and keeping up with snowballing demand. The last patent on Thonet’s design expired in 1869, and dozens of competitors sprang up, cashing in on his success. The effect of this is still visible today, with versions of the ‘214 produced by more than one manufacturer. The latest reincarnations of the design are by Italian brand Poltrona Frau, which has just launched three versions produced by Wiener GTV Design.


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