Product > furniture: contract/case goods
The Modern Heritage Collection honors Thonet’s early 20th century innovation in tubular steel furniture production with entirely new seating, tables, storage units, and shelving inspired by designs from the 1920’s and 30’s. Thonet’s Modern Heritage Collection bridges the design influences of Marcel Breuer, Mart Stam, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to today, creating original, recognizable furniture that retains the airy aesthetic of early tubular steel furniture and adds innovative contemporary forms.
While working at the Bauhaus in 1925, Breuer saw the potential to apply the process of bending and shaping tubular steel to designing products from bicycle handle bars to furniture. His early experiments with cold bent tubular steel set the stage for the invention of the cantilever chair, a flexing chair without back legs, which is one of the most important innovations of 20th century design. His B3 armchair for Thonet was the first expression by any designer.
Other architects also began actively designing tubular steel furniture. Stam developed the cantilever chair in 1926, while cantilevered designs were a hallmark of Mies van der Rohe’s furniture. In 1932, Mies Van der Rohe designed the double cantilever chair for Thonet. Today, the early tubular steel furniture designs are considered milestones in design history, drawing on its breakthrough wood-bending techniques for chair production in the mid-1800’s, became the largest manufacturer of tubular steel furniture in the United States.
In 2018, Thonet’s Modern Heritage Collection. proudly carries on its legacy producing innovative, modernist furniture comprised of tubular steel. Designed by Q Design, the Modern Heritage Collection significantly expands traditional tubular steel collections of seating, desks, and tables. Ideal for meeting rooms and open plan environments, the Modern Heritage Collection includes a lounge chair; stool; coffee, dining, conference room tables; and, a unique stand-up community table with integrated storage. The collection also includes storage cabinet; an expandable bookshelf system; and, media cabinet.
The pieces in the Modern Heritage Collection feature mixed materials that retain the light, airy designs of the original metal and wood combinations. The one inch diameter steel tubing combined with fluid bending is consistent across all of the pieces, providing a beautiful symmetry to the entire collection. The furniture incorporates steel frames with plywood and laminate components. The surface materials are wood, laminate, quartz or acrylic. The Collection also includes innovative, yet simple fastening systems that enable flexible reconfiguration or division of a space.
Rick Joutras the Design Director of Q Design said, “The design challenge was creatively appealing because of Thonet’s history working with steel tube. Their extensive catalog of iconic designs offered great inspiration in bringing a classic design language into the modern workplace.
By re-interpreting the designs of world-renown architects whose works were produced by Thonet, the Modern Heritage Collection remains true to the spirit of the originals and adds design twists to create a look and feel for 21st century contract applications.