At first glance, the Vienna’s clean silhouette belies its complex construction. Indeed, it’s a little known fact that chairs are amongst the most difficult pieces of furniture to design, and this is especially true if the finished article is to be as beautiful and elegant as Vienna. The Vienna chair is one of Tom’s most popular pieces because of its dynamic silhouette, unrivalled craftsmanship and its nods to both Art Nouveau and mid-century aesthetics. However very few know these facts:
1. Initially conceived in 2014, it took a full year to perfect the silhouette of the Vienna frame. Tom reconsidered the original shape, feeling that it was too squat, and it took a further two iterations (including making a mini version in card!) before arriving at the perfect dimensions and curve.
2. One of our first photoshoots for the Vienna chair featured the popular yellow upholstery on a charcoal backdrop. Tom was inspired to use these colours after seeing a lot of mustard and dark grey in fashion – both garments and popular advertising campaigns. Interestingly, despite the mustard upholstery being chosen predominantly for the purposes of this shoot, it has become the most popular fabric choice for this chair when ordered.
3. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the luxury resort and casino ordered a room full – all with very special edition bespoke gold upholstery!
4. A number of specialist metalworking techniques are used to craft the Vienna. The flared feet are cast and the silhouette parts are water-jet cut. It is constructed together using a mix of mig & tig welding and the all welds are then cleaned off and polished.
5. The most popular finish and upholstery selection: Handpainted bronze on steel and velvet (very often in mustard), as illustrated by this gallery of the Vienna in the press and as captured on Instagram.
6. Over 500 Vienna chairs have now been handcrafted and sold since its launch in 2015.
7. The original Vienna carver chair combines elegant Art Nouveau inspired curves with a mid-century modernist aesthetic, now accentuated in its taller variation, the bar stool. This is new for 2018, and displayed first at Decorex in September last year. It’s a hugely versatile design, and supremely comfortable. There is also a non-carver option, as seen below.
8. Each chair consists of three elements (made in Italy by our fantastic partner workshop) two sides and a connecting stretcher. We join these together in a jig. Finally it is passed onto our expert finishing team to be handpainted. The full process takes nearly two hours and involves around 5 craftspeople on average, including a welder, weld-cleaner, specialist painter and upholsterer.
9. The most difficult aspect of construction is dealing with the sheer number of parts. The Vienna may look seamless but it has 26 different components ranging from 1.5mm – 10mm material thickness.
Finally – something you might not guess from looking at the Vienna – we’ve hidden the upholstery fittings so the back is suspended in between the frame.