Each handmade Vitra miniature is a classic in the history of furniture design reduced in size at a scale of 1:6. True to the original pieces in structure and materials, the miniatures are precision-crafted, making them a thoughtful gift for a furniture lover or design professional. The "No. 14" armchair is one of the world’s most successful, mass-produced products. It was the standard model in Thonet's collection of bent-wood furniture and is considered the typical Viennese coffee-house chair. By 1930, 50 million of the chairs had already been sold. A modified version of the No.14 is still being produced today. Using the bent-wood technique developed by Michael Thonet, solid wood is shaped subjected to steam pressure and shaped three-dimensionally in iron molds, this offers a great deal of scope for creativity in the design. Thonet's new packaging system was also revolutionary for the second half of the 18th century. The individual parts of the chairs were packed in an extremely space saving manner and then sent to their final destination, where they were first screwed together. The Thonet brothers combined industrial production processes and a business-oriented approach with a unique aesthetics, making a substantial contribution to our current concept of industrial design. Each Vitra miniature comes handsomely packaged in a wood box with an informational booklet.
With all the talk about form and function, we sometimes overlook the importance of the advances in materials technology in the 20th century. Without doubt, the development of bent and laminated wood veneers was one of those significant innovations, making it possible to construct furniture using fewer pieces and allowing designers to obtain greater visual unity and fluidity. One can hardly imagine the work of Alvar Aalto or Charles and Ray Eames without this technology.
Michael Thonet is one of the most important innovators in bent wood furniture making. Thonet patented a process of bending under heat several layers of wood veneer glued together and laminated.and used the new material to create curved back-rails and legs on chairs, contoured headboards for beds and scrolled arms for sofas. Read more >