Our history in the project business: 400 chairs at once – large-scale orders at Thonet from the earliest days to the present
Thonet is famous for its icons of furniture design that have always enjoyed great popularity in the private living sector. What is much less known is the fact that the production of products for commercial use is one of the roots of our company: from the very beginning, Thonet has been supplying furniture to public institutions, cafés and restaurants.
The beginnings: in his carpentry shop established in 1819 in Boppard on the River Rhine, Michael Thonet intensively worked on the development of new wood bending techniques. These experiments caught the attention of Prince Metternich, who called the craftsman to Vienna in 1842; there, Carl Leistler involved him in the furnishing of the Palais Lichtenstein and Palais Schwarzenberg.
In 1850, Michael Thonet presented his chair no. 4 at an exhibition of the trade association of Lower Austria. The gastronomer Anna Daum was fascinated with it and gave him a large-scale order to furnish her coffee house at Vienna’s Kohlmarkt. Later on, an order from a hotel in Budapest for 400 copies of chair no. 4 was added. These are milestones in the early project business at Thonet. In 1904, Otto Wagner, a teacher at the art academy and one of the “original fathers” of the Vienna Secession, designed an armchair made of squared beech wood in an objectively strict constructive style for the assembly hall of the directorate of the Vienna Postal Savings Bank: fauteuil no. 6516, the so-called “Postal Savings Bank armchair”.