From 5th to 9th April, five designs for the new Thonet chair were on exhibition as the collaboration with the Scuola Politecnica di Design coordinated by Riccardo Blumer.
For the Salone del Mobile 2006 Gebrüder Thonet Vienna S.p.A. and the Scuola Politecnica di Design presented THONET TOMORROW. A proving ground for twenty-five young international designers measured their talents against a timeless icon of world design: the Thonet chair.
THONET TOMORROW offered students from the Milanese school an opportunity to design for a company which has produced masterpieces of design in more than 200 years such as the revolutionary and universally accessible "No. 14" chair. An important challenge posed by a company that is looking towards the future, asserting its experimental spirit by cultivating relationships with emerging talents.
This new "greenhouse" of Gebrüder Thonet Vienna S.p.A., now part of the Poltrona Frau Group, consists of new students from the 2005-5006 Master SPD programme, 23 to 37 years old, from eleven different countries, including Argentina, Germany, Indonesia, Great Britain, and of course Italy. The best design will have the opportunity of winning a contract with Gebrüder Thonet Vienna S.p.A. and the chance to see their chair in a catalogue that includes top names from Otto Wagner to Ross Lovegrove.
THONET TOMORROW began in October 2005, with a brainstorming session led by Denis Santachiara. The design lab of the Master's in Industrial Design, which will run until June 2006, is coordinated by Riccardo Blumer in collaboration with Giovanni del Vecchio, CEO of Gebrüder Thonet Vienna S.p.A. and Giulio Cappellini.
During the Salone del Mobile 2006, 5 selected projects developed by the students during the course of the design lab presented for the first time at the Scuola Politecnica di Design. An experimental work in progress structured yet opened which, in Riccardo Blumer's approach, was an investigation of a "difficult" material - wood - and its possible design applications. The principle of modularity, which guides the most important Gebrüder Thonet Vienna S.p.A. projects, underlies a good number of the entries, while at the same time there is no shortage of daring and ironic interpretations of the classic Thonet: from a sexed-up version that fits like a skirt, to a crossing band that creates the seat with just one element. Five ideas would have fulfilled the hard task of covering the gap between concept and production.
The presentation at April's Salone del Mobile marked the definition of the final designs of the THONET TOMORROW project, which will be presented to the company in June and then developed for inclusion in the Thonet catalogue of winning product.
Laura Affinito, Nicola Zappelli (Italy)
An interlacement of filiform and apparently fragile elements - thin bands of wood curved by steam - allow the object to support itself and others, even without a structural frame. The pattern of the weaving is a homage to the Viennese straw, imprinted in Thonet's DNA. The quality of this project consists in the sinuous forms that stretch and create the seat and legs, in the rhythm of the interlacement, in the lightness and transparency of the material. A project that chooses paradox as its first interpretation: the contrast between the unstable aspect of the grid, so slight and open, and the strength of a structure that finds a strong ally in the elasticity of the wood.
Estefania Fernández (Spain), Alfredo Sandoval (Venezuela)
A successful chair thanks to the pureness and simple perfection of Spanish design. The object takes its origin from a single band of curved wood that faithfully interprets the character and formal qualities that are typical of Gebrüder Thonet Vienna. The chair is intended to be essential and absolutely contemporary. The design of the seat, created by crossing wood, goes beyond the first interpretation, hiding an unexpected comfort. The whole project aims at balancing aesthetic, functional and ergonomic qualities as well as innovation in the production process.
Giorgia Paolini (Italy)
A sexy and ironic object with a strong impact, almost a sculpture. Giorgia Paolini's idea becomes a soft and embracing chair that takes its shapes from fashion. The skirt is the typical female symbol. A transparent filling of flexible and light willow wood is sewn around the structural frame, again in wood, from which the seat takes its origin. Gebrüder Thonet Vienna has always communicated elegance and sensuality. This concept, with remarkable scenographic and symbolic qualities, responds to the contemporary demand of dealing with interiors - domestic and others - as scenography.
Alessandro Pasotti, Francesca Imperiali (Italy)
On the contrary of what you might think, sitting is a dynamic action. For this reason, the project abandons the stereotype of a chair as a rigid structure developed on two almost orthogonal planes. The organic shapes of the seat are modelled in order to offer the chance to sit down in several ways but always in absolute comfort. The body is made of curved beech wood - pure Thonet - and is divided into three distinctive elements: seat, back and armrest, designed as modules that can be assembled. In this way, the single chair easily becomes suitable for waiting areas and any large spaces that can be combined to give life to unlimited architectures.
Elisa Ceci Neva, Sara Mezzetta (Italy)
One self-bearing element creates a wide landscape of stools, benches and support surfaces: a system that easily moves from domestic spaces to public places. Curved wood has been chosen as the only construction material of the project and value is given to the structural characteristics through the study of forces expressed in the curvature and tension of fibres. The geometric design of the band maintains full volume still maintaining its typical lightness, while the surface exalts the graphic effects of the material. The strong points of the project are the geometry of total volume and the pattern, also found in the more complex combinations, that the consumer can chose and change, like in a game.
Gebrüder Thonet Vienna S,p.A.
via Pietro Cossa 2 20122 Milan
Tel. +39 02 77807701
Fax.+39 02 77807744
Scuola Politecnica di Design SPD
via Ventura 15 20134 Milano
Tel. +39 02 21597590
Fax.+39 02 21597613