THONET – 520 upholstered chair BY MARCO DESSI & S 32 LOUNGE CANTILEVER CHAIR
Published by Sugar & Cream, Tuesday 18 April 2023
Text and images courtesy of Thonet
Launch In Sie Matic Showroom in Milan (Milan Design Week 2023)
Thonet 520 upholstered chair By Marco Dessi
With his design of the 520 for Thonet, Italian designer Marco Dessí created a contemporary interpretation of an upholstered chair that forms a direct link to the heritage of the famed furniture manufacturer based in Frankenberg, Germany: this contemporary chair exudes an elegance that echoes the culture and history of the classic Thonet bentwood armchair. In his design, Dessí filled the open spaces between the bentwood elements with comfortable upholstery, thus combining the lightweight design of the classic bentwood chairs with ultimate comfort. It’s a chair that works beautifully in numerous settings – around a dining table at home, as seating in a stylish restaurant, or in a welcoming workplace meeting room. Now, after its relaunch, the upholstered chair is available with and without armrests and in a wide variety of colours and materials.
The 520 range of upholstered chairs references Dessí’s personal favourite from the Thonet product portfolio: the bentwood chair 209, a model that many an architect has fallen in love with over the years. “While working on the 520, I studied the Thonet classics. The arc that forms a unit with the back legs is so iconic and so characteristic of Thonet. Our approach is based on that one specific detail.” Inspired by this classic bentwood beech component, Dessí developed a new, complex bentwood element for the 520.
“He takes an aesthetic-constructive approach, which can already be seen in the design of the 209,” explains Norbert Ruf, Creative Director of Thonet. “The product’s design is characterised by its open, recognisable construction.”
Marco Dessí has cleverly reduced the space between the lower arc and the seat so it can double as a carry handle, particularly convenient when the chairs need to be moved around. He has designed two options for the chair back of the 520: one with armrests (520 PF) and one without (520 P). The chair is available in a variety of wooden surfaces and cover fabrics, which makes the 520 extremely versatile and allows it to be customised to suit many different settings.
The 520’s shape is, in itself, an invitation to take the weight off your feet. “You immediately associate the 520 with comfort, even before you sit down,” says Dessí. “When you do take a seat, the backrest nestles gently against you and, even in the version without armrests, it provides side cushioning and support.” This means optimal comfort in a variety of seated positions, even over many hours.
The innovative process for bending solid wood developed by Michael Thonet in the mid-19th century gave rise to the typical Thonet design language and had a considerable influence on Dessí during his design process: “The fact that the very first Thonet chairs are still in use today demonstrates just how robust, sustainable and utterly contemporary the process is,” he says. For Dessí, the heritage of the tradition-steeped brand is proof “that quality stands the test of time – and that striving for quality can guarantee that a company will be around for 200 years.”
Presented by Melandas Indonesia
S 32 Lounge Cantilever Chair
Thonet unveils a throwback to the iconic S 32 with a light, compact lounge chair.
Thonet’s S 32 cantilever chair is one of the most popular and recognisable pieces of tubular steel furniture – a versatile design icon for a variety of settings and styles. The new S 32 lounge chair version brings together architectural lines, a distinct design and yielding comfort. Placed next to a sofa, this lower level model can make the perfect addition to a relaxing lounge area. Alternatively, it stands out as a statement piece in coworking breakout spaces, elegant reception areas or stylishly designed private homes.
Anyone who has ever taken a seat on a cantilever chair knows the experience is unlike any other: the chair reacts dynamically to your movement, its frame flexing with just the right amount of give. The springiness of the S 32 lounge chair’s tubular steel construction is a key part of what makes it so comfortable. This new design combines the typical characteristics of a cantilever chair with those of a lounge chair. The result is a flexible repose, paired with distinctive form and an air of lightness. To further enhance the chair’s ergonomics, the seat has been widened (58 cm) and is tilted slightly backwards. The S 32 Lounge chair does not have armrests, creating a relaxed atmosphere with no obvious barriers to communication, wherever it is used.
The seat height of 40 cm means it can harmonise easily withs other lounge furniture: the perfect partner for sofas, with the added advantage of appearing both lighter and more compact than upholstered armchairs. Occupying minimal space, the tubular steel frame makes a transparent, open and airy impression. This memorable, minimalist design fits effortlessly into diverse interior settings – from residential to the contract.
This new lounge chair is based on the famous S 32 tubular steel cantilever chair originally conceived by Marcel Breuer in the 1920s. Breuer’s chair was distinguished by its use of contrasting materials: Viennese canework, characteristic of Thonet’s traditional bentwood furniture, and the least amount required of tubular steel. In keeping with the full S 32 range, the lightweight S 32 Lounge chair is available with either a canework seat (S 32 VL), an upholstered seat (S 32 SPVL) or an upholstered seat and backrest (S 32 PVL).
The S 32 Lounge chair is the ideal addition to the current collection, which consists of classic cantilever chairs with and without armrests, a swivel chair version (Atelier) and barstools in two different heights. This new model now makes it possible to create entire furnishing landscapes with a range of seat heights.
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