Design Icons by Fameg
A Fameg chair is more than furniture. It’s a piece of art, history and genuine craftsmanship. Fameg’s longstanding legacy and success has been built on its classic pieces, which have become icons in the annals of furniture design.
Fameg is one of the original factories of Gebrüder Thonet, which Michael Thonet founded in 1853. Many of Fameg’s design icons are Thonet’s revolutionary chairs, which he developed through his ground-breaking steam-bending technique.
Chair 14 is Fameg’s most famous chairs, and one of the world’s most well-known chairs. Michael Thonet, founder of Gebrüder Thonet, introduced the chair in 1859. Thonet revolutionised the design and production of furniture by using hot steam to transform wood into a highly flexible material. He achieved Chair 14’s graceful shapes through this steam-bending wood, which allowed for the industrial production of a chair for the first time. It cost the equivalent of a bottle of wine at the time, which helped accelerate its popularity and success.
The design was a response to the need for durable, elegant chairs for newly opened restaurants and cafés, hence it is also known as the Bistro Chair. Chair No. 14 is one of the most popular chairs in history and is still manufactured by Fameg as Chair A-14. As Le Corbusier praised: “Never was a better and more elegant design and a more precisely crafted and practical item created.”
Rocking Chair BJ-9816
Rocking Chair 9816 is one of Fameg’s flagship pieces and has been unchanged for 130 years. Designed in 1885, the chair has two iconic features of Thonet’s bentwood aesthetic: the handwoven cane seat and back, and the elaborate steam-bent curves that enliven the chair, especially when it is rocking.
Thonet popularised the rocking chair in Europe. His steam-bending process was ideal for curving the base of the rocking chair that sweeps around the base of the seat. In 1904, the Thonet Brothers offered more than 40 different models of the rocking chair, and the BJ-9816 still endures.
Chair 4 is a hallmark of Vienna cafes, giving the seat its alternative name of the Vienna Chair. It is one of the oldest models manufactured by Fameg and it has a prominent, well-deserved place amongst the icons of global design. It has a light and exceptionally strong structure, with decorative, heart-shaped openwork on the backrest.
Thonet produced Chair No. 4 in 1850 for Café Daum, becoming a legendary symbol of Viennese coffee culture. Café Daum was one of the many salons frequented by leading writers, artists, journalists and foreign correspondents, becoming a social and cultural institution of the nineteenth century.
Chair 5910, first manufactured in 1959, has been fondly referred to as ‘stick insect’ due its thin stick-like legs and spindle backrest. Reminiscent of a classic Windsor chair and Shaker furniture, it has a sculpted back of turned spindles and a base of straight, splayed legs.
The simplicity of the chair expresses designer Marian Grabiński’s fascination with Scandinavian design. And in fact, Ingvar Kamprad, founder of IKEA, noticed the chair during a visit to Poland in 1961. Kamprad wanted to initiate cooperation with Polish furniture manufacturers, and IKEA placed an order for 1000 chairs. The chair was very popular in pubs, schools, canteens and universities in the 1970s and 1980s and has become a cult design.
These classic chairs will forever remain design icons and Fameg’s signature products. However, the brand’s progressive approach also sees the development of new products in collaboration with local designers, and its goal is to develop a contemporary equivalent of the A-18 chair – another one of the most successful chairs and designs in the world.