Say ‘Thonet’ and the refined elegance of the bentwood chair springs instantly to mind. Lauded for a simplicity of form that belies its strength, the Thonet Bentwood chair is as robust as it is graceful, classic and unabashedly a champion for the tactility and warmth of wood. It is not surprising then, that when Thonet secures exclusive representation of an international design house, as it has recently done with Stolab, the brand reflects the attributes for which Thonet is so very highly regarded.
New to Australia, these unique designs from Sweden continue the tradition of fine Scandinavian craftsmanship, environmental responsibility and a love of timber that is truly expressed in each piece. Similarly, the aesthetic of Scandinavian design is beautifully explored through minimal design principles that celebrate materiality and overall form. “A conscious simplicity is something of a signature for our furniture that makes them timeless,” says Stolab.
Key to the initial offering are three ranges of exceptional design acumen: Arka, Lilla Åland and Miss Holly. And it is here that we see the calibre of Thonet reaching across generations, eras and the aesthetic zeitgeist as it continues to deliver furniture of perfection. The Arka lounge chair by architect Yngve Ekström, for example, is a classically proportioned spindle back chair of considerable beauty. Designed for Stolab in 1955, the Arka lounge chair is a low-backed exemplar of the blonde Scandinavian design language. As such, Stolab’s decision to put this classic design back into production is a well-considered response to contemporary interior design. “We have brought the chair back to life and are proud to present it fully intact in its stately and unique form. Just as beautiful and more right than ever,” says Stolab.
Carl Malmsten’s Lilla Åland range of 1942 has long held a place in the heart of all interior designers and architects. Presenting a perfect marriage of practical and aesthetic wants, the instantly recognised Lilla Åland form remains a paradigm of Swedish design principles and indeed has represented Swedish design in many forums.
Miss Holly, while the youngest of the designs, takes its cue from Windsor chairs. Indeed, architect Jonas Lindvall’s design of 2011 reinterprets this classic chair within a contemporary vernacular. Recognised as one of Sweden’s most celebrated architects and furniture designers, Lindvall has produced a design that strips away egregious decorative details and brings the focus back to the swelling form and simplified silhouette. That Miss Holly is also scaled to suit dining similarly speaks of its contemporary application.
Effectively expanding the Thonet range, the inclusion of Stolab within its stable exponentially broadens Thonet’s reach in terms of application, while galvanising its reputation for beautiful, handcrafted timber furniture of exceptional quality.