Barstool, sidechair, chair, armchair and table. 404 Family for Thonet by Stefan Diez

Published on July 11, 2013

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Diez works intensively with materials, technology and is passionate in his quest to fathom out their limitations. Together with his office they develop products that are precise, yet simple and above all are meant to meet human needs. 404 Family is a project for Thonet and we want to show you how Stefan Diez works with his ideas.

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The seat of the 404 H is reminiscent of a saddle. The foot-ring has a slip-proof, non-wearing top edge and is fully integrated into the legs, which provides the necessary stability and perfectly reflects the backrest of the 404 chair. In common with all chairs in the range, the bar stool is made of laminated beech.
All parts are glued together and the stool comes stained in various colours. Standing tables matching the bar stools are also available.

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A range of wooden chairs tables and stools made from laminated wood. It is in line with the bentwood-legacy of the family company but transforms it entirely regarding the aesthetic and technological criteria. The legs and armrests merge in a ‘knot’ and are recessed into the underside of the seat/tabletop. It distinguish a high degree of seat comfort, distinctive contours and clever details. The range appears lightweight both in terms of material and construction and is therefore reminiscent to the historic bentwood models.

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More than 180 years ago Michael Thonet started to make chairs and furniture according to his patented process by bending wood. This makes his company the world’s oldest industrial furniture manufacturer. Its products are indissolubly linked to the coffee-house style of the 19th century and the Bauhaus period.

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It was less a question of whether than how our designs would relate the bentwood tradition of the Thonet family. As it is no longer economical today to bend wood in Germany, for the manufacture of our chairs we had to resort to the more modern but generic moulded plywood process. I understood it as our main contribution to develop an individual version of the plywood process that was a good fit for Thonet. The most important design element is the structural knot beneath the seat.

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The four legs and the supports of the backrest meet there and are set into the surface of the seat. A three-dimensional layer structure of the seat, makes this possible: the thickness of the seat is a few millimetres at the edges but several centimetres in the middle. Thanks to this trick it is possible to give the chair lines that seem to have been drawn with only a few strokes, like the original Thonet chairs.

Thonet and Stefan Diez

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