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October 2013

Thonet-day at the MAK Vienna – a complete success



A donation, bending, discussions and celebrations throughout the day


Within the framework of the Vienna Design Week, the MAK ART SOCIETY dedicated a focus day with a diversified program on 28 September 2013 at the occasion of the presentation of the new donation of current furniture to the MAK. For all of the 200 visitors, exciting and inspiring things were going on all day long - from a handicraft workshop for children to an design talk with Konstantin Grcic and Robert Stadler. Percy Thonet, the representative of Thonet in Austria and a member of the family's sixth generation, was satisfied: "The city of Vienna is part and parcel of Thonet's history as the MAK belongs to the city of Vienna - and therefore the new donation is a special honor for us. It demonstrates that Thonet is a very modern and innovative company with its finger on the pulse of the times, and that the design quality of our contemporary designs is of as much importance for museums as are our bentwood and tubular steel icons."


The Thonet Day


At the initiative of the MAK ART SOCIETY (MARS), the so-called Thonet Day was held last Saturday at the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art MAK in Vienna. The occasion was the donation of five current Thonet furniture models, as well as a comprehensive program of activities for all. The day formed the beginning of the MAK Specials, which take place during the Vienna Design Week at the MAK. In the morning, the program started with a Thonet workshop for children and families, during which chairs were built and then awarded. Michaela Hartig of the MARS was delighted with the lively participation: "The Thonet Day has shown that bentwood furniture produced by Thonet is not only timelessly beautiful but also timelessly attractive. The children were enthusiastically involved and built inventive and inspiring models." Afterwards, tours through the MAK's permanent collection "Historicism/Art Nouveau" about bentwood furniture designed by the American artist Barbara Bloom, in which the production of Thonet and the Vienna competing companies from the 1830s until the 1930s were presented. On the podium, a passionate and fascinating discussion about the history of the company, which has its head offices in Frankenberg/Hesse today, developed between the two designers Konstantin Grcic and Robert Stadler as well as Sebastian Hackenschmidt (curator of the MAK Furniture and Woodwork Collection) as well as Percy Thonet on the subject "Thonet - Tradition and Innovation". In the end, the podium agreed that evolution plays an important role in design alongside innovation since it is always linked with the constantly changing requirements of people.


In the afternoon, the Viennese design collective breadedEscalope gave a live performance presenting their self-designed mobile bentwood kitchen, which can be used to produce furniture by bending wood Thonet-style.


The new donation


The MAK's comprehensive collection of Thonet tubular steel and bentwood classics was extended with five current products: for the dining chair 130, Japanese designer Naoto Fukasawa was inspired by classic bentwood chairs, especially their sustainability and lightness. The wooden chair program 404 by the Munich designer Stefan Diez also refers to historic models: by using molded wood and plywood in combination with an innovative constructive design he succeeded in creating a modern interpretation of the bentwood heritage. The chair 107 by Robert Stadler is also a variation of the archetype - with its narrow curved backrest and lightweight, elegant design the 107 immediately evokes memories of the famous Thonet coffee house chair 214, which has been part of the MAK collection for decades. In addition, a tubular steel cantilever chair and matching table designed by Konstantin Grcic for the "Muji manufactured by Thonet" collection were handed over to the MAK. Sebastian Hackenschmidt emphasized: "The increased cooperation between Thonet and internationally renowned contemporary designers is remarkable: as early as around 1900, Thonet had famous architects and designers such as Loos, Hoffmann and Wagner in its program, and in the early 1930s there was Mies van der Rohe, Breuer and Le Corbusier. It seems to me that with these new designs Thonet is again joining up with some big names."


Thonet and the MAK


Thonet and the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art MAK in Vienna, one of the oldest and most important museums of applied arts, look back on a similarly long and traditional history. Alongside the bentwood furniture collection with 140 exhibits, among them numerous pieces from the collection of Alexander von Vegesack, Thonet tubular steel furniture from the Bauhaus era has its place in the MAK collection as well as furniture by Josef Frank, Oswald Haerdtl, and Verner Panton. The extension with current and contemporary products now completes the comprehensive collection. As Percy Thonet emphasized, "Our furniture is represented in several museums throughout the world: at the MoMA, the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Pinakothek der Moderne. However, our products are nowhere else so much at home as at the MAK - except for our museum in Frankenberg."


Thonet sales campaign


Thonet and prodomoWien support the concern of MARS to acquire the mobile bentwood kitchen from breadedEscalope with a sales campaign. Until 31 December 2013 customers of prodomo receive 15 % discount on the purchase of models from the donation as well as the bentwood classics 214 and 209. For each model sold, MARS will receive an additional 15 % of the original sales price from Thonet Germany and prodomoWien.


Download PDF "Thonet-Day at the MAK Vienna"

Address or contact person

For further information and images of all products please contact our
PR agency

Thonet GmbH

Susanne Korn

Michael-Thonet-Straße 1

D-35066 Frankenberg

Phone +49 (0) 6451 - 508-160

Fax     +49 (0) 6451 - 508-168

E-Mail susanne.korn(at)


Claudia Neumann Communication GmbH

Claudia Neumann, Anne Polch

Eigelstein 103-113
D-50668 Köln

Tel. +49 (0) 221 – 91 39 49 0

Fax +49 (0) 221 – 91 39 49 19

E-Mail thonet(at)


Tag 1: Workshop für Kinder und Familien

© MAK/Katrin Wißkirchen

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Tag 2: Stephan Löwenstein und MAK-Direktor Christoph Thun-Hohenstein  

© MAK/Katrin Wißkirchen
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Tag 3: gut besuchte Podiumsdiskussion 

© MAK/Katrin Wißkirchen
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Tag 4: Podium mit Percy Thonet (Thonet Deutschland), Sebastian Hackenschmidt (Kustode MAK-Sammlung Möbel und Holzarbeiten), Robert Stadler (Designer) und Konstantin Grcic (Designer) (v.l.n.r.)

© MAK/Katrin Wißkirchen

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Tag 5: Christoph Thun-Hohenstein, Sebastian Hackenschmidt und Percy Thonet (v.l.n.r.)

© MAK/Katrin Wißkirchen
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Tag 6: gebastelte Thonet Stühle aus Draht

(© kein Copyright)

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