Get to Know the Most Popular Hospitality Chair in the World – The Bentwood Chair

The classic Bentwood chair is a hospitality staple and found in restaurants, cafes and bars across the globe. The simple yet elegant designs have stood the test of time owing to its popularity to its sturdiness, structure and beauty, which make it one of the best restaurant chairs in the world. As one of our most requested styles at Have A Seat, you won’t have to search for long to see this timeless chair in a venue near you.

Often dubbed the Thonet chair, after its creator Michael Thonet, the Bentwood chair gets its modern name from the process of its manufacture. By the mid-1830s, Thonet had perfected the process of crafting furniture out of a combination of bent and glued wooden slats. The chairs were bent into graceful curves using lightweight yet durable wood and a steaming method be bent into graceful curves, which created very different styles from anything else available at the time.

The most recognisable Bentwood chair design is the iconic No 18 Bentwood chair. Thanks to artists such as Pablo Picasso and Henri de Toulouse Lautrec, the chair stars in several famous paintings making them somewhat of an icon of our times, particularly in French culture. In fact, Toulouse Lautrec’s memorable work Night at The Moulin Rouge features two No 18 Bentwood chairs.

The technique used to create the chairs hasn’t changed much over time ensuring the durability of the Bentwood chair isn’t compromised. Beech, a deciduous tree that’s commonly found throughout Europe, is a popular choice of material for the Bentwood chair due to its hardness and strength.

Sustainably farmed, the trees are cut into logs so the production of plywood can begin. The logs are plasticised in large soaking tanks before a peeling machine creates large, thin sheets to be later glued together in layers. The number of layers used depends on the desired thickness of the plywood.

The drying of the wood is the next important step where it is left to reach humidity levels of around eight to 10 per cent. Then, the wood is steamed using extremely high-pressure steaming equipment that reaches temperatures of well over 100 degrees Celsius. The steaming process makes the wood plastic and therefore able to be bent and curved into an unusual shape. The bending process is often done manually by skilled crafters who are well-trained in the art, using a steel strip and metal moulds and forms to shape the wood. The bent wood stays within the moulds during a drying process, which is when the shape of the wood becomes fixed.

After being assembled, the furniture can be stained, lacquered or painted a number of colours, giving you the flexibility to create a variety of moods in your hospitality environment.

Our classic No 18 Bentwood chair is available in seven finishes as well as with a padded seat or in an altered stackable design for convenience. Along with the No 18 design, we stock a selection of other classic Bentwood chairs that seamlessly combine comfort with practicality and simple yet striking designs.

More than 80 million Bentwood chairs have been sold worldwide, and the design has been responsible for changing the furniture industry completely. The introduction of the smooth, curved lines revolutionised the interior design of hospitality spaces at the time and can do the same for your space today.

We have a vast range of Bentwood chairs in stock in our Sydney-based warehouse making it easy for us to furnish your space without lengthy wait times. We ensure all of our furniture is of the highest quality as Have A Seat continues to supply iconic furniture designs to clients across Australia.

Get in touch with one of our team to chat about your seating needs at sales@haveaseat.com.au or call 1300 715 937.