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DESIGN ICONS | 5 bentwood wooden chairs to know if you are a design lover

What do you know about the iconic bentwood chairs?

If you want to invest in a piece of design which will last the changing of trends, invest in an iconic chair. If you are not sure in which, today I am telling you something more about the most popular chair of all times, the Thonet bentwood chair.

The name “Bentwood” is derived from the fact that the chair is totally made of bent wood. The wood, made soft thanks to heat and moisture, becomes flexible enough to bend into different shapes. This quite revolutionary design was for the first time tested by Michael Thonet in the XIX century. Still, at present, bentwood chairs are created with the same technology.

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There are several kinds of Thonet bentwood chairs, but the very first one (and the most popular) is the n°14 chair.

|| Read something more about Thonet 14 bentwood chair here


Iconic bentwood Chairs by Thonet In the past

The iconic Thonet 14 chair was invented 160 years ago and at that time it was a really innovative piece of furniture. In fact, the chair was made from just six pieces of wood, 10 screws, and two nuts. It was perfectly stackable, so very easy to be shipped. 36 chairs could be packed in a one cubic metre box, shipped to anywhere in the world and assembled on site. It was actually a forerunner of the IKEA concept.

The Thonet 14 chair become particularly popular in the Twenties: 50 million of these chairs were sold between the years of 1859 and 1930, making it the most popular iconic chair of all times.

|| Read more about the Great Gatsby and roaring Twenties interior style


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Iconic bentwood Chairs by Thonet Now

The revival of the Art Nouveau and art deco style, with its soft and curved shaped, lead to a huge revival of the bentwood chairs.

Thonet still produces them with the original technology, proposing new collections which are always true to the original. The latest one is the “Pure Materials”: a very sustainable line made of forest wood intentionally minimally treated. In this way, with the passing of time the structure of the material changes, reacting with noticeable traces.

Let’s see together which are the iconic bentwood chairs still produced at present.


Thonet 214 bentwood chair

The former n°14 chair can be found today as the 214 collection. Considered the most successful mass-produced product in the world to date, it is a truly iconic chair and the first of the bentwood series. Available in many different finishes, the 14 chair is one of the most used also in stylings and in Scandinavian settings.


@_designtales_ via




Thonet 209 bentwood chair

The 209 chair is characterized by a really sculptural shape and organic form. Even Le Corbusier was fascinated with it and used it in many of his buildings, for example in the Weissenhof Estate in Stuttgart in 1927. He confirmed that “… this chair has nobility.”

It is available today with an open back or with backrest. Also, both seat and backrest can be in cane work or covered with leather or fabric. Seat also available as molded plywood seat.

|| This is also the one I choose for my home office restyling: discover the before and after here







Thonet 218 bentwood chair

Formerly no.18, this is another one of the bestselling models of the Thonet bentwood chairs. The so-called export chair of Gebrüder Thonet was often sold for use in restaurants and cafés – especially in South America. This is because, disassembled into indigidual parts, 36 chairs fit into a sea chest, allowing the chairs to be sent on long journeys without any problem and in large quantities

Model 218 without armrests is available with a wicker cane seat, with leather or textile cover, or with a molded plywood seat shell. All wooden parts are made of stained beech, as for all the Thonet bentwood chairs.

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Fantastic Frank

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Thonet 233 bentwood chair

This is another iconic chair made of bentwood. The armrests are integrated into the extended backrest; two curved bentwood elements connect the armrests with the seat. The Thonet 233 was used in numerous restaurants and cafés throughout the world around 1900.

So, which one of these amazing chairs is your favorite?


|| Enjoy more inspo about iconic chairs:

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