Vienna-based furniture manufacturer Gebrüder Thonet Vienna, known for merging tradition with innovation and consistently evolving their stylistic lines with new research, presented the works of three renowned designers at Salone del Mobile 2023. The Austrian brand, with the showcase of the Loop Chair and the Mickey chair, renewed their collaboration with Iranian-French architect, designer and scenographer India Mahdavi. The brand from Austria also presented the works of Hong Kong-based design and architecture practice AB Concept and Venice and Stockholm based Nichetto Studio.
Storytelling is always contextual. It’s about defining a question that you want to ask and defining the question is really the hardest part. For me, it’s important to define the question at the beginning so that the process is easier. - India Mahdavi shared with STIR
The topic everyone thinks about is materiality, and how one can use it in the best possible way, not wasting too much, reusing things that you already have. We are all concerned about sustainability, and how we can continue creating with all these parameters in mind. - India Mahdavi told STIR at Salone del Mobile 2023
Gebrüder Thonet Vienna’s showcase this year at Milan, Italy, was presented against the tranquil scenography of the booth. The latest collections by the brand bear the possibility of harmoniously complementing the atmosphere of Nordic homes that are wrapped in natural wood and light colours. The showcases at the design fair included the dining version of the Loop Chair and the Mickey lounge chair by India Mahdavi, Hagu chair by Ed Ng of AB Concept, and Ample by Luca Nichetto of Nichetto Studio.
“The new collection of chairs and armchairs designed by AB Concept and Nichetto Studio represent a real innovation in the world of Gebrüder Thonet Vienna, where the classic handcrafted curved bentwood leaves room for a plywood shell that embraces and envelops the whole system, wisely integrated with new metallic materials. The result fully expresses the aesthetic values of the brand,” shares Riccardo Pigati, CEO of Gebrüder Thonet Vienna GmbH.
STIR presents an overview of the showcases presented at the design festival.
India Mahdavi’s Loop Dining Chair and Mickey Lounge Chair
This is the second year of collaboration between Mahdavi and the brand. Expanding on her previous designs, the Iranian-French designer added two pieces to the Loop family, which previously included a lounge chair and a banquette. Delineating her collaboration with the brand, Mahdavi, at the design fair, shared with STIR, “Last year, we did the Loop armchair, and while the armchair had a good volume, this year we wanted to explore more and develop a dining chair. This year’s design is more compact and can fit into a smaller space.”
The previous products were showcased at the 2022 edition of Salone del Mobile.Milano. The latest additions, namely, the Loop Dining Chair and Mickey Lounge Chair, are inspired by the designer’s childhood heroes. “‘The Mickey chair is high and comfy but also embracing, colourful and kind. A friend to cherish and with big ears, who listens to all your fears,” Mahdavi shares.
In an attempt to stay true to the brand’s ethos, Mahdavi designed these pieces in a continuous line, without lifting her pencil. This continuous thread-like curve carved out of bent beech wood makes for the structure of the Loop chair. Upholstered in yellow wool, the cushion of the Loop Dining Chair matches the natural hue of wood. For the Mickey Chair on the other hand, a black wood structure is juxtaposed against green upholstery. “Gebrüder Thonet Vienna is the only manufacturer in the world that enables you to translate a free hand drawing by giving it a wooden materiality of that quality,” says India Mahdavi.
AB Concept’s Hagu Chair
Ed Ng, the founder of design and architecture practice AB Concept, designed the Hagu Chair inspired by the act of hugging. The chair design perfectly cocoons the sitter. AB Concept and Gebrüder Thonet Vienna together sought to create a design that could utilise the brand’s evolved bent-wood heritage in new material. The light and elegant chair is made out of a slim metal frame and a plywood shell which holds an ergonomically angled upholstered seat pad. The frame, extended at the back, serves as an inconspicuously placed handle that can be used to push and pull the chair.
Nichetto Studio’s Ample Chair
The sinuously shaped Ample Chair offers a comfortable seat and backrest that is suitable for use in residences and offices alike. The chair can best be described in Luca Nichetto's words, “As we approached this project, we started thinking of Gebrüder Thonet’s iconic designs. We wanted to keep what’s at the core of the brand whilst injecting it with new technology by working with material new to the company, metal, therefore creating a connection between past and present. The result of this merger between craftsmanship, tradition, and innovation is Ample, a chair with a sinuous shape, generous seat, and a comfortable backrest ideal for both residential and contract markets.”
Gebrüder Thonet Vienna’s showcase was on view from 18-23 April 2023, at Pavilion 4, Booth G05 at Salone del Mobile.
STIR’s coverage of Milan Design Week 2023 showcases the best exhibitions, studios, designers, installations, brands, and special projects to look out for. Explore Euroluce 2023 and all the design districts—5Vie Art and Design, Brera Design District, Fuorisalone, Isola Design District, Tortona District, and Milano Design District—with us.