Thonet is producing Mart Stam's S 43 cantilever chair in a special edition with many new colour options. This special edition of the tubular steel classic, with its vivid new colour options, is being brought out to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the founding of the Bauhaus design school. The Bauhaus can truly be called the cradle of modern tubular steel furniture, since it was there in the 1920s that some of the most important designers started to experiment with the new malleable steel tubing, along with many other colleagues the world over, amongst them the Dutch architect Mart Stam. In 1926, Stam developed the first prototype of a cantilevered, tubular steel chair. In 1927, in the context of the Stuttgarter Weißenhof-Siedlung project, Stam worked alongside Bauhaus teachers such as Marcel Breuer and Mies van der Rohe on the subject of tubular steel furniture and cantilever chairs, which resulted in a chair without back legs, known at Thonet today as the S 33. Stam was later granted the copyright for the cantilevered chairs, which is held to this day by Thonet. In 1931, an optimised version of his earlier design was added to the Thonet range in Germany, known today as the S 43.
The classic S 43 available in new colour options: the clear, restrained form of the S 43 makes this cantilever chair an exemplary design in the modern idiom, and one which has enjoyed unbroken success. This classic by Mart Stam, who was employed as a guest lecturer at the Bauhaus from 1928-1929, is available in 11 colour options, applied as textured enamel: pure white, agate grey, anthracite grey, jet black, sulphur yellow, pure orange, traffic red, brown red, yellow green, water blue and light blue. The children's chair option is enamelled in the following new light tones: pure white, pastel yellow, pastel red and pastel blue.
90 years of the Bauhaus
The Bauhaus, founded as an art school in Weimar in 1919, was, in its form and concept, something completely new for that time. Between 1919 and 1933 it was located in Weimar, then in Dessau and finally in Berlin. Today the Bauhaus is regarded as the most important 20th century school for art, architecture and design. The importance of this institution was such that the term "Bauhaus" is today synonymous with modern art and architecture. In this anniversary year, the Modell Bauhaus exhibition will be held in the Martin Gropius Building in Berlin (22nd July - 4th October 2009). This important show will be jointly staged by three institutions: the Bauhaus-Archiv Berlin, the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, and the Foundation of Weimar Classics. It will be followed by an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. As Thonet is an official supplier to the exhibition, every chair of the special edition of the S 43 will bear a special seal.
Tubular steel furniture, the Bauhaus and Thonet
Important milestones in the development of modern, sleek, tubular steel furniture were set at the Bauhaus. Thonet recognized the potential of the new design, and in the 1930s became one of the largest producers of tubular steel furniture. Since that time, many models have been constituent parts of the range, all representing classics in furniture history.