The No. 14 Chair by Thonet: Dynamic Curves

August 20, 2019
When you're furnishing your house, the No. 14 chair by the Thonet company can bring you a sense of simple sophistication and powerful delicacy.

Most people probably have no idea what a No. 14 chair is, or that they’ve probably sat in lots over the course of their lives. But they probably noticed the dynamic curves in its design, even if they didn’t know the chair’s name.

Lots of older houses, classic cafés, and other businesses in Europe have these kinds of chairs. They’re also very common in country houses because they were extremely popular during the first part of the 20th century.

The fact of the matter is, they have an important place in decor history. The creator of the No. 14 chair, Michael Thonet, wanted it to be accessible for everyone, at the same time as it had an aesthetically pleasing design for home decoration. It’s also very versatile and can go well with lots of other types of furniture.

Is the No. 14 chair comfortable?

When it comes to the aesthetic concept of this chair, you have to factor in everything from its appearance, format, lines, and structure. For one thing, it has a very subtle, simple structure that makes it very open and dynamic.

The round seat is comfortable, and also breaks from the traditionally square designs of other chairs. The curves convey a sense of agility and rigidity, at the same time as a closed, and well-defined format.

The No. 14 chair tends to come with a cushion, for added comfort. We all know wood can start to get uncomfortable if you spend a long time sitting on it. That’s why it’s so important to have cushions with this type of chair.

In general, the chair makes you want to sit in it and enjoy its supreme comfort.

The back: adaptation and connection with your body

The most interesting aspect of this chair is its back. It’s impossible to look at the No. 14 chair and not see the design of the back as dynamic. Here are some of the main characteristics that make it so special:

  • It has three basic lines: the longest is the main one, in the shape of an arch. There’s another one in the same shape within that one, but a bit shorter. The third is the direct connections to the circular seat.
  • There’s nothing at all in the lower part of the back. It’s completely open. That see-through, transparent structure creates a powerful sense of openness between all the parts. 
  • Your back will settle perfectly into the chair. Its curves were designed specifically with our backs in mind. The main goal of this chair, after all, is comfort. But you may also notice a lack of lower back support because of the lack of any material there.
  • This design is extremely dynamic because of the shape of the curves. It gives off a sense of both sophistication and simplicity. It may not be able to offer pure comfort, but it’s certainly an elegant chair you can enjoy for small periods of time.

The legs: slenderness and stability

As for the legs, the way they curve out from top to bottom gives off a sense that the chair is rising. The legs aren’t particularly thick and aren’t very sturdy-looking compared to things like armchairs and easy chairs.

Towards the top of the legs, there’s a wooden ring that encircles the entire perimeter of the chair. In other words, it connects all the legs so that there’s a sense that all the different parts are part of a larger whole. What this does is give off a feeling like it’s an aesthetic whole.

The legs have a very simple, slender appearance. The goal is to convey a sense of lightness, a gentle, subtle grace. It’s definitely not the kind of chair that takes up much space, either. It’s not very bulky and is generally pretty easy to put in any space or room in your home.

The No. 14 chair goes well with just about any decor style.

Where can you get a No. 14 chair?

The easiest answer to this question is to look through online stores to find one. That being said, we would recommend always seeing them in person and trying them out before you buy them. Many second-hand models may be very worn down already.

If you want to get yours now, you can try the furniture and home stores in your country, especially their online shops. In many cases, they’ll let you request one online and go pick it up yourself. It’s hard to deny that the internet is the easiest way to shop nowadays.

Your goal should just be to find the easiest purchasing option for you. The best thing about the No. 14 chair is how well it can go with any decor scheme, so what are you waiting for? Get shopping!

Pesudo Chiva, María Carmen: Formas curvas alabeadas, Cultivalibros, 2009.

Lee, Vinny: Guía esencial de decoración, Edimat Libros, 2005.