Design: Marco Dessí, 2020/2023
With his design of the 520 for Thonet, Italian designer Marco Dessí created a contemporary interpretation of an upholstered chair that forms a direct link to the heritage of the famed furniture manufacturer based in Frankenberg, Germany: this contemporary chair exudes an elegance that echoes the culture and history of the classic Thonet bentwood armchair. In his design, Dessí filled the open spaces between the bentwood elements with comfortable upholstery, thus combining the lightweight design of the classic bentwood chairs with ultimate comfort. It’s a chair that works beautifully in numerous settings – around a dining table at home, as seating in a stylish restaurant, or in a welcoming workplace meeting room.
The 520 range of upholstered chairs references Dessí’s personal favourite from the Thonet product portfolio: the bentwood chair 209, a model that many an architect has fallen in love with over the years. “While working on the 520, I studied the Thonet classics. The arc that forms a unit with the back legs is so iconic and so characteristic of Thonet. Our approach is based on that one specific detail.” Inspired by this classic bentwood beech component, Dessí developed a new, complex bentwood element for the 520.
Marco Dessí has cleverly reduced the space between the lower arc and the seat so it can double as a carry handle, particularly convenient when the chairs need to be moved around. He has designed two options for the chair back of the 520: one with armrests (520 PF) and one without (520 P). The chair is available in a variety of wooden surfaces and cover fabrics, which makes the 520 extremely versatile and allows it to be customised to suit many different settings. The 520’s shape is, in itself, an invitation to take the weight off your feet. “You immediately associate the 520 with comfort, even before you sit down,” says Dessí. “When you do take a seat, the backrest nestles gently against you and, even in the version without armrests, it provides side cushioning and support.” This means optimal comfort in a variety of seated positions, even over many hours.
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