Adjustable armchair thumbnail 1
Adjustable armchair thumbnail 2
+7
images
Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Furniture, Room 135, The Dr Susan Weber Gallery

Adjustable armchair

Armchair
ca. 1908 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Bentwood technology was developed during the 19th century and brought to wide public popularity by the Austrian firm of Thonet. By 1900 they were making thousands of bentwood chairs every year, to furnish cafés and offices, as well as private houses. The architect and designer Josef Hoffmann, a leading figure in the Austrian design-reform movement known as the Vienna Secession, and a founder of the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops), used this established and cheap technology to create furniture in an entirely new style. Both the form and decoration of this chair use simple geometric forms. It was originally designed by Hoffmann for the Purkersdorf Sanatorium, one of the Werkstätte's most complete commissions, but it later went into commercial production.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 2 parts.

  • Adjustable Armchair
  • Rod
Additional Title
Materials and Techniques
Steam-bent beechwood frame, with plywood seat and back; brass rod
Brief Description
Adjustable armchair with steam-bent beechwood frame, stained mahogany colour, plywood geometric pattern, brass pole
Physical Description
Adjustable armchair designed by Josef Hoffman, made by J.& J. Kohn; steam-bent beechwood frame, stained mahogany colour, plywood geometric pattern, brass pole.
Dimensions
  • With rod on second rung from bottom height: 88cm
  • With rod on second rung from bottom width: 65.7cm
  • With rod on second rung from bottom depth: 112.5cm
  • With rod on middle rung height: 98.5cm
  • With rod on middle rung width: 65.7cm
  • With rod on middle rung depth: 100.5cm
Height and depth vary according to position of bar. Measured on 15/9/2010 by LC.
Styles
Gallery Label
  • International Arts & Crafts Architects such as Otto Wagner and Josef Hoffman took bentwood, which was then an anonymous industrial material, and exploited its unique properties. This adjustable armchair was originally designed for the Purkersdorf Sanatorium, one of the Werkstatte's most complete commissions, but it later went into commercial production.(17/03/2005)
  • Adjustable armchair About 1908 Josef Hoffmann (1870–1956) Austria Manufactured before 1916 by J. & J. Kohn, Vienna Frame: beechwood, steam-bent Panels: 3-ply beech plywood Knobs: beech, turned All stained Hinges and rod: brass Museum no. W.28-1982 The rounded frames of this chair contain large plywood panels set in grooves. Plywood is very strong. The panels can be pierced yet are still rigid enough to support large seat and back cushions and a fully reclining sitter.(01/12/2012)
Summary
Bentwood technology was developed during the 19th century and brought to wide public popularity by the Austrian firm of Thonet. By 1900 they were making thousands of bentwood chairs every year, to furnish cafés and offices, as well as private houses. The architect and designer Josef Hoffmann, a leading figure in the Austrian design-reform movement known as the Vienna Secession, and a founder of the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops), used this established and cheap technology to create furniture in an entirely new style. Both the form and decoration of this chair use simple geometric forms. It was originally designed by Hoffmann for the Purkersdorf Sanatorium, one of the Werkstätte's most complete commissions, but it later went into commercial production.
Bibliographic References
  • Greenhalgh, Paul (Ed.), Art Nouveau: 1890-1914 . London: V&A Publications, 2000
  • Livingstone, Karen & Parry, Linda (eds.), International Arts and Crafts, London : V&A Publications, 2005
Collection
Accession Number
W.28-1982

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record createdJune 25, 2002
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