Published on : Monday, January 15, 2018
Minimalistic and honest while at the same time filigree and concise: the 118 is a classic wooden chair which ensures subtle elegance at any dining table and in any restaurant. With his new chair range for Thonet, which premieres at imm cologne 218, Sebastian Herkner refers to the diversified heritage of the company.
Based on the principle of reducing a chair to the fewest elements possible, which Michael Thonet developed in the mid-19th century, Herkner takes this principle one step further with the 118: the sought-after designer adds sophisticated details to recently often seen simplicity in the chair segment, making his design less dominant and, at the same time, more noble.
The new chair range 118 refers to the chair 214, the archetype of a Thonet chair, with the seat frame bent from a single piece and the wicker cane seat. Optionally, the 118 is offered with a moulded seat. The shape of the chair legs is another special feature: rounded on the back and characterised by slight edges on the front, they reference the horseshoe shape of the seat. The incline of the back panel is perfectly coordinated with the seat and ensures the highest seating comfort. The chair 118 is available in natural beech and in lacquered or stained versions.
For the development of the 118, Sebastian Herkner, in addition to the direct Thonet history, also dealt with the questions that stood in the foreground of the Frankfurt exhibition “Der Stuhl” (1929) during the Bauhaus era: at the time, the search for the “new chair” was an issue, seating that would comply with the lifestyle and rhythm of a lively person, as Fritz Wichert, then director of the Frankfurt School of Art, put it in the exhibition catalogue. Thonet was also represented with numerous designs in the exhibition, which aimed to “invite and inspire complementation”. As an absolute all-rounder, the new 118 is in line with the idea of seating for different purposes of use, as the Frankfurt exhibition “Der Stuhl” required at the time.
Another source of inspiration for Sebastian Herkner was the “Frankfurt Chair”, which was also developed in the 1930s and used as a universal chair for a long time. It stood out due to its solid construction consisting of four legs, a seat and a backrest, and at the time was part of the Thonet portfolio in a range of versions. Herkner, referring to his home town, likes to call his new design for Thonet the “Offenbach Chair”.