Michail Tonet

Michail Tonet

Furniture designer
Date of Birth: 02.07.1796
Country: Austria

  1. Biography of Michael Thonet
  2. Introduction
  3. Early Life
  4. Innovations
  5. The Vienna Chair
  6. The Thonet Furniture Program
  7. Popularity and Legacy

Biography of Michael Thonet


Michael Thonet, an Austrian master cabinetmaker, was a renowned furniture designer who revolutionized the industry in the 19th century. Through his innovative methods and visionary approach, he became known for creating the iconic "Vienna chairs" and establishing his own unique furniture style.

Michail Tonet

Early Life

Born in 1819, Thonet opened his furniture workshop in Vienna at a young age. Initially, he produced traditional furniture inspired by rococo, Chippendale, and Sheraton styles. However, he soon became dissatisfied with the limitations of traditional furniture production and sought to create his own distinctive style.

Michail Tonet


Thonet embarked on a series of experiments, exploring the potential of bending and shaping wood. After numerous trials and refinements, he developed an industrial bending method using multiple layers of bent strips of wood. This revolutionary technique allowed him to create chairs and other furniture pieces with reduced elements and simplified construction.

The Vienna Chair

Thonet's most iconic creation was the Model 14 chair, which became the cornerstone of his furniture collection. The chair featured a minimalistic design, consisting of only six parts. The three-dimensional bending technique enabled the fusion of the backrest and rear legs, while the seat was woven with cane. The reduction in components resulted in a lightweight, resilient, and stable chair that seamlessly blended into any interior.

The Thonet Furniture Program

Not only was Thonet a brilliant designer, but he was also a talented entrepreneur. He developed a furniture program where each chair model was complemented by other furniture pieces, such as armchairs, sofas, tables, rocking chairs, and coat racks. The versatility of his furniture program allowed for a wide range of customization options, with up to 10 different variations available for each furniture set.

Popularity and Legacy

Thonet's furniture quickly gained widespread popularity and became a timeless classic. His groundbreaking techniques in shaping wood were later adapted for the construction of bent metal furniture in the 20th century. Thonet's legacy as a visionary furniture designer and his innovative approach to form and construction continue to inspire designers and enthusiasts around the world.