I wasn’t aware of it, but there is an Australian Thonet company Thonet Australia Pty Ltd which I found through Infolink Com Au
Since 1979, Thonet has been bringing a proud tradition of furniture design and innovation to Australia through its distribution of Thonet bentwood chairs, produced in original factories established in 1880 by the Thonet family. Our collection extends to other leading European manufacturers such as Amat-3, Tolix and De Sede. We also carry locally produced tables and soft seating for hospitality, commercial and domestic use.
Stam is the designer of the first cantilever tubular chair. On 22 November 1926 he showed a sketch with a blue pen of it on the back side of the wedding announcement of the German painter Willy Baumeister at a dinner party in the Stuttgart hotel Marquart. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was at that dinner Party. Presently this wedding announcement is reportedly in the Mies van der Rohe archive of MoMa, NYC.
The first producer of this chair is the German company Lorenz.
In 1927 both Mart Stam and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe showed their versions of this idea in their respective houses of the Weissenhofsiedlung project in Stuttgart.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Mentions only the design in 1929 of the Barcelona chair (also cantilevered but with flat steel, rather than tubular)
Mentions the design of a steel tubular chair in 1925 for Wassily Kandinsky, hence known as the Wassily chair that still is in production.
In the late 1920s, Breuer and Stam were involved in a patent lawsuit in German courts, both claiming to be the inventor of the basic cantilever chair design principle. Stam won the lawsuit, and, since that time, specific Breuer chair designs have often been erroneously attributed to Stam. In the United States, Breuer assigned the rights to his designs to Knoll, and for that reason it is possible to find the identical chair attributed to Stam in Europe and to Breuer in the U.S.
Lilly and Mies
Through her involvement with the Werkbund Lilly Reich also met Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe. In 1926 she moved from Frankfurt to Berlin to work with Mies. She was Van Der Rohe’s personal and professional partner for 13 years from 1925 until his emigration to the US in 1938. It is said that they were constant companions, working together on curating and implementing exhibitions for the Werkbund, as well as designing modern furniture as part of larger architectural commissions such as the Barcelona Pavilion in 1929 and the Tugendhat House in Brno.
Two of their best known modern furniture designs from this period are the Barcelona chair and Brno Chair.
Albert Pheiffer, Vice President of Design and Management at Knoll, has been researching and lecturing on Reich for some time. He points out that:
“It became more than a coincidence that Mies’s involvement and success in exhibition design began at the same time as his personal relationship with Reich.”
“It is interesting to note that Mies did not fully develop any contemporary furniture successfully before or after his collaboration with Reich”.
When Mies Van der Rohe became the director of the Bauhaus School of design and architecture in 1930, Lilly Reich joined him there as one of the only female teachers. Reich taught interior design and furniture design until the late 1930s.
1925-28: became head of the furniture department of Bauhaus Dessau.
1925: Designed the first tubular steel chair B5 and a tubular steel ottomans.
This post is subject to some updates in the future.
Added May 23rd, 2007:
A page of:
Avant-Garde Design and the Law: Litigation over the Cantilever Chair
an article by Otakar Macel in the
Journal of Design History, Vol. 3, No. 2/3 (1990), pp. 125-143
Oxford University Press
at Jstor, a University related retrieval system at this link: Avant Garde Design and the Law sustains the Dutch Wiki version.
The German Thonet Factory has a Bauhaus overview where the design of several chairs is attributed to Marcel Breuer and the Artistic Copyright to Dutch Chair designer Mart Stam, which is probably close to the outcome of the German litigation.