Chair, model B403
Ferdinand Kramer (1898–1985)
Manufactured by Gebrüder Thonet, Frankenberg
Bent beechwood frame, moulded plywood
81.5 x 43.5 x 64.5cm
Museum no. W.3–2005
Kramer’s bentwood chair, designed for manufacture by the Thonet company and costing a modest 28 Reichsmarks, featured on the cover of the exhibition catalogue Der Stuhl (The Chair), mounted by Adolf Schneck in Stuttgart in 1928. Kramer designed this chair for simplicity of manufacture and robust construction, rather than elegance in Modernist terms. There is no attempt to exploit the flexibility of bent beechwood in cantilevered curves or flexing seat or backrests. Furthermore, it was far from being the cheapest of the Thonet chairs. In an interesting article Kramer defended the need to create ‘type’ equipment for the home, arguing from economic necessity in the marketplace, but also on aesthetic and spiritual grounds: ‘The type dwelling requires type furniture on rational and aesthetic grounds.’ Furthermore, he argued, that the personality of the individual did not have to be expressed by one-off objects made by hand or inherited from family. The dwelling and its contents should simply be a backdrop for the expression of individuality through other means.