GamFratesi pairs bent wood and rattan for Gebrüder Thonet furniture line
Danish design duo GamFratesi has incorporated patterned cane panels into a collection of steam-bent furniture for Gebrüder Thonet.
Unveiled at the Salone del Mobile 2015 trade fair in Milan, the range is composed of a two-seater sofa, armchair, office chair, desk, and a pair of high- and low-backed dining chairs.
The upholstered Targa sofa and armchair rest on a steam-bent wooden frame – a characteristic of Gebrüder Thonet's furniture – with a backrest that incorporates a rattan section with rounded edges.
"The Vienna cane is a typical Thonet element," GamFratesi told Dezeen. "In the case of the sofa the cane plays a small decorative detail, serving as a small screen and creating an interesting connection between wood and upholstery."
The cane panelling is repeated in the Allegory desk, which includes a large circular screen that echoes the backrest of a chair. The weave of the cane serves a double purpose, offering support to the furniture as well as a place to store and display postcards or other papers.
An accompanying three-legged office chair has a rattan seat and a singular curved strip of wood that forms a backrest.
The Morris chairs – a pair of upholstered seats with cane-patterned backs – come in a choice of two different backrest heights, and are a new interpretation of Gebrüder Thonet's signature Thonet chair.
The pieces form part of a new set of collaborations, for which Gebrüder Thonet has partnered with designers including Nicola Gallizia, Michele De Lucchi, AnkiGneib, Martino Gamper and Nendo to reinterpret and update some of the company's historic products.
"The idea of a line and not a single product came from a conversation with the company that has enjoyed our approach to the material," GamFratesi told Dezeen.
"The company had initially asked us to design and work on a chair, but the development of the chair naturally led to imagining a 360-degree environment: a chair to sit, a desk to write and to conclude, an upholstered sofa to relax."
"These brand new creative results bring steam-bent beech, a symbol of the brand, into a contemporary light, giving a solid material like wood the flexibility of a line drawn in pencil on a sheet of paper," Gebrüder Thonet said.
Founded in 1853 in Vienna by Michael Thonet, Gebrüder Thonet pioneered the use of steam-bent wood in the large-scale manufacture of its furniture, and its No 14 chair had sold over 50 million units by 1930.
Swedish design group Front has previously used Gebrüder Thonet's signature bent wood for a combined coat rack and bench and set of tables.
The combination of bent wood and woven rattan also proved popular with Milan design studio Skrivo, which paired the two materials to create an angular armchair.
GamFratesi curated a showcase of Danish design for the Mindcraft exhibition in Milan, exhibiting established names like Cecilie Manz and Ole Jensen alongside new designers.