The Bentwood Chair: the Undeniable Hero of Seating
There’s something so historic and exquisite about a Bentwood Chair. You see them just about everywhere – in cafes, bars, restaurants and homes – and thankfully nowadays, you can nab them in a variety of colours and styles (you know I love me some colourful furniture!).
I sat down with B Seated Global’s Director Daniella Klein Menachemson and Project Manager Anthony Gibson to find out more about the part this furniture supplier and manufacturer has played in the history of the Bentwood Chair, some recent projects they’ve undertaken using it and what it is about this design that makes it the undeniable hero of seating.
What is it you love about the Bentwood Chair?
Daniella: “I love the authenticity and the history behind the manufacturing. The same technique has been used since the 1830s. Steam is used to bend the wood, it really is an art form”.
Anthony: “Bentwood chairs have such a great design with their flowing curves and sleek lines. I love the craftsmanship that goes into each chair. I’m still amazed at how the wood can be bent and molded in to such interesting shapes”.
I didn’t realise there were so many styles. Which would be your fave and why?
Daniella: “It is so difficult to choose. The model A18 is very popular and found in cafes and restaurants around the world. The Model A31 is my personal favourite. its a simple but intricate design with great attention to detail. I don’t think it can be beaten”.
Anthony: “These days you are not limited to the traditional wood finishes you can get them in practically any colour you want. I personally like them in quite bold colours such as yellows, reds and blues. Having a brightly coloured chair can really add impact to a room. Now there is also a trend for adding “bentwood socks”. This is where the lower leg of the chair is left unpainted so the wood finish is exposed. This is a great way to modernise a classic chair”.
Tell me about a recent project you did with the chairs.
Daniella: “We have used them in so many projects across Australia such as Mr Wong, The Village, Berkelouw Books, GG’s espresso, The Local Bar and The Corner Bar. Our most recent project using bentwood chairs is The Grounds of Alexandria which is due to open next year. We used the Model A31 chair in specialised pantone colours which are a customised blue/green. We also supplied chairs in a new walnut finish which are not the typical bistro colours you see”.
There’s nothing quite like an original, designer chair. Does it disappoint you to see imitations out there?
Daniella: “It doesn’t disappoint me as I think it is a complement to the original design. Michael Thonet created such a great design. He died in 1871 and people still want to use and imitate his design. They are timeless and it will be replicated for many years to come”.
Anthony: “Not at all. You’re right – there is nothing quite like an original designer chair, but these chairs can be above the budgets of a lot of people. I think that everyone should have the opportunity to have furniture that looks amazing but is also affordable”.
What makes the Bentwood “The Chair of Chairs”?
Anthony: “Bentwood chairs have been in production for over 100 years and they are still just as popular today. The chair is simple while still being interesting, lightweight but very durable. This makes it perfect for the home, cafes, bars, restaurants and any other venue you can think of”.
Daniella: “The Bentwood chair is beyond iconic and timeless. It has a phenomenal history and has evolved through the ages. Michael Thonet started making his furniture in 1819 at the age of 23 and it’s still hugely popular today.”