1927 The New Living
The Stuttgart Weissenhof Estate
and the New Living
The Werkbund exhibition "Die Wohnung" in the Weißenhof Siedlung in Stuttgart in 1927 demonstrated solutions for the new way of living and was met with much acclaim and discussion on an international level. For the first time, tubular steel furniture was presented to the public on a larger scale. This trend continued during the subsequent exhibitions in 1928 in Brno, in 1929 in Breslau, in 1930 in Stockholm, and in 1930 and 1932 in Zurich. While preparing the exhibition in Stuttgart, young Mart Stam presented his idea of the cantilever chair to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe – as legend has it, sketched on a napkin.
Stam's design already did without the back legs of the chair but was not yet flexible. Mies van der Rohe later realized the idea of the cantilever chair in his elegant armchair S 533 – at the time MR 10 – for the first time. One year later, Marcel Breuer presented his cantilever chair S 32. Mart Stam was later given the artistic copyright for the cubic design of the cantilever chair.
Thonet has owned these rights since 1932.
Thonet, pioneer of industrial tubular steel furniture production
Thonet has the distinction of being the first company to manufacture the innovative furniture on a large scale. The company also acquired the technology to do so at the end of the 1920s and became the largest manufacturer of tubular steel furniture in the world in the 1930s.
The famous Thonet 1930/1931 catalog
The famous catalog of 1930 already included designs by Marcel Breuer, Le Corbusier, the Luckhardt brothers, Mies van der Rohe and Mart Stam as well as numerous in-house models. They all represented the idea of the new living. In this context, the invention of the cantilever chair is considered a milestone in design history; long controversies accompanied the issue of its copyright. In the end, Mart Stam was awarded the artistic copyright for the form and basic principle.
Cantilever chairs S 32 & S 64