With the 404 model, Stefan Diez has created for Thonet a modern wooden chair available in a narrow version (404), with a broader curved backrest (404F), and in various contemporary colours. Autumn 2008 sees the launch of the matching 1404 tables.
Historical Predecessors and New Technology
A modern interpretation of bentwood designs in moulded plywood, combined with a new construction method. This is the fundamental idea behind the 404 chair series developed by Munich-based designer Stefan Diez for Thonet. The narrow version of the 404 has been modelled on the historical 214 Thonet bentwood chair dating from 1859, which, with its simple shape and cost-efficient production, became one of the first icons of industrial design. The broader 404F version with a wider curved backrest is based upon 1900's 209 model, which Le Corbusier adored for its generous elegance.
Distinctive Features and Exquisite Comfort
Characterised by its lightweight appeal in both material and construction, this series is reminiscent of Thonet's historical bentwood furniture. Three features stand out in particular: the seat which appears to befitted like a slim panel, the splayed legs and the way they converge with the backrest supports under the seat. Additionally, when leaning back a slight suspension effect iscreated. The parts are joined without using any dovetailing or screws. Thus the seat becomes the connecting element between the legs and backrest. The necessary reinforcement of the seat towards the centre and the resulting characteristic shape similarto the brim of a hat is achieved through modern moulding technology. "When designing a chair you're basically creating an interior sculpture", says Diez, continuing: "Wood has the fantastic characteristic of being elastic without breaking. Something like the 404 can only be done in wood." Altogether the 404 series radiates, and delivers, great comfort.
A Perfect Match - the New 1404 Tables
Available in rectangular, square, and round shapes. All tables are 74 cm high. There are currently three different options with additional ones scheduled to be launched soon. The rectangular tables are available in 180 x 90 cm, 160 x 80 cm, and 120 x 80 cm. The square ones come in 90 x 90 and 80 x 80, and the round model has a diameter of either 120 or 80 cm. The legs are fixed under the table top with two screws each, and can thus be easily detached - a useful feature for storing and transporting. The design of the tables mirrors that of the chairs in the typical curvature of the legs and the delicate edges of the tabletops, which endow the tables with an air of lightness and elegance. A special construction under the tabletop provides the necessary stability.
Materials, Options, Measurements, Colours, Details
The 404 series as well as the matching tables are made of beechwood. Chairs and tables are available in black-red, charcoal, olive, and lemon stain, in white beech wash, in bleached beech, and in all standard Thonet stains as well as in natural varnished beech. Seats can be upholstered. The narrower 404 chair has the following measurements: height 78 cm, seatheight 45 cm (with upholstery approx. 47 cm), width 49 cm, and depth 51 cm. Legsand vertical backrest supports are of a smaller diameter than those of the 404F. The broader 404F with a height of 78 cm, a seat height of 45 cm (47 cm with upholstery), a width of 60 cm, and a depth of 54 cm, is a wooden chair with a wider curved backrest. The seat is larger than the 404. Both chairs have plywood legs and backrest supports.The table legs are also made of plywood. Seats and backrests are made of moulded plywood. The series is produced using renewable resources.