New Collection 822: A Bentwood Furniture Evolution

Added June 30, 2022

The history of the bentwood furniture is an evolution, not a revolution. Swedish studio Claesson Koivisto Rune designed the 822 collection to continue its story. To last for generations.

We had the opportunity meet with the design team and discuss the new collection at Salone del Mobile 2o22.  The showcase was excellent and again reinforces the reason why we continue to represent TON in New Zealand and specify TON for hotels and restaurants.  It is the best for seating furniture in restaurants and cafés. It is durable, it is naturally strong and flexible.

This seating collection was created in partnership with the Swedish studio Claesson Koivisto Rune. It takes inspiration from Josef Hoffmann’s 1930 design of the modernist model A811, with the Swedish creators extending the design in the direction of contemporary Scandinavian minimalism. They have created a distinct version whose proportions work better with the natural forms created by manual wood-bending technology, and which gains a unique character from the graphic dot perforations in the plywood seat and backrest. These design principles have been applied to a chair, an armchair, a lounge armchair, a bar stool and a low stool.

The new range is an exciting addition to the TON range of chairs.  Claesson Koivisto Rune studio is one of the top design and architecture studios of its generation. Three friends and former classmates, Mårten Claesson, Eero Koivisto and Ola Rune, founded the studio in Stockholm in 1995 with the aim of creating a full-service atelier bringing architecture and design together. Since then, they have won more than 60 prestigious awards, they have completed dozens of architecture projects all over the world, and designed furniture and other products for more than 80 international companies.

“The original designs of the A811 are great examples of the early modernist movement. But they clearly show the heritage of 19th century romanticism. We decided to remove this feeling,” stated Mårten Claesson, one of the trio of designers. “It is quite natural to work on something from the past and update it for our time. And, as architects, we work on many projects where we have to deal with renovating old buildings and implementing the original architecture in a new way and this is quite a similar task,” adds Eero Koivisto.

The idea for the 822 collection was originally conceived on the basis of studio Claesson Koivisto Rune’s desire to create a limited-edition series for the interior of a new family restaurant in the former Norwegian stock exchange building. They approached TON with their idea, a variation on a classic model, which TON liked so much that they decided to make an expanded, mass-produced collection. “Many iconic designs from history were initially produced for some specific architecture project. I think it is actually much better to design a product for some specific project, because you think about it differently. The case of chair 822 is no different. We designed it to last generations, because the client in Norway is a family who has been running hotels for four generations. The chairs will probably be in that space in 40, even 60 years’ time. The context affects our approach too,” Eero Koivisto explained.

Collection 822 combines the use of shaped plywood and manually bent solid wood. “Bentwood chair design is closely connected to the technology and limitations of bending. And we like these limitations,” stated Mårten Claesson. The exclusive use of beechwood for manual bending is also one of the specifications. The natural character of bent beechwood can be retained, or it can be finished with stains or pigment colours. The products are made from wood certified by PEFC, a system focusing on responsible approaches to forest ecosystems and on expanding them.

The 822 model gains its unique character from the graphic dot perforations in the plywood seat and backrest. They impart the chair’s distinctive character and create a shifting visual motif, connecting with the interior, the colours worn by the person sitting in it, or rays of sunlight. “We had to adjust the dot pattern to the chair’s structure, to avoid some construction elements which are placed under the seat.  The history of bent wood is  evolution, not revolution, and we are continuing this story. And that is why we call the chair 822, because we are in 2022,” Mårten Claesson explained. Eero Koivisto adds: “From the beginning, we did not know how many holes there should be, or how large. We spent hundreds of hours creating those openings. We also had to deal with the dimensions of the holes. The original Hoffmann chair has larger holes because it was not possible to make them smaller at that time. But now we have procedures that can. I like that we extended traditional bentwood technology, which has not changed for 160 years, to the future, using these contemporary possibilities.”

In the same way that they designed the 822 chair and armchair, the designers also conceived the other typological variants, including a lounge armchair and bar and low stools. “The most unusual design in this family is the lounge chair. It is not so easy to create it from a normal chair, not even in the context of production processes,” Ola Rune mentioned.

The famous Swedish studio has been a world leader in contemporary design since it was founded in 1995. Working with TON was their first experience of bentwood technology. “We have to admit that the bentwood technology proved itself the best for seating furniture in restaurants and cafés. It is durable, it is naturally strong and flexible. We had been looking for this technology for many years. But only a few companies can actually work with it. And TON is one of the best producers in this category. For us, it was a secret dream to make something from bent wood,” Mårten Claesson admitted, on behalf of all of them. “When you see the people working in their factory, it’s like a ballet. One of the most powerful moments in designing furniture that you could ever see,” adds Ola Rune.

Statement iD love to talk you through the new range, which has endless specification opportunities hotel, hospitality and commercial settings.  In our opinion it balances the line of a fresh take on the trusted TON Bentwood design.  The high quality and proven standard of bentwood which works very well for hotels & hospitality because it is durable, naturally strong and flexible with natural feel of wood which keeps the chair grounded with nature.

See more about the TON 822 new collection here
See more – Interview with the designer here
See more about TON –  back in Milan – Salone 2022 here


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