GRACE AND IMMORTALITY OF BENT CHAIRS
From New York through whole Europe, Singapore to the southern hemisphere of Sydney, Australia. From scented cafés and restaurants through the most modern hotels to your own cosy dining room. These all are the places where you can sit on and touch a piece of the Czech tradition, a creation of the Czech golden hands, the wooden chairs called TON.
Just imagine that you enter the room and suddenly you are affected by something. That is the smell of wood and forest. Immediately, your imagination drags you right into the nature. It feels as if your dining room changed into a small wooden oasis, on which you can definitely rely. Not only because of its soothing scent, but also for its solidity and for quality processing that can bear even the weight of your 200-kilos uncle. Actually, it is a fair, Czech, and handmade work. It is a craft that we should worship, especially in today's technological times. And this is exactly what is the wooden design furniture TON. So, we as well went to Bystřice pod Hostýnem to wonder how flexible the wood can be and we listened to the tale of the famous factory, whose story becomes with every new day and every new chair more and more interesting.
Mr Tonet, the founder of the chair factory, is worshiped similarly in north Moravia as Baťa in Zlín. He did not only invent the technique of chair folding that is applied in an unchanged form since 1861 until today, but he was also a regional investor. During the Communist era, the company changed its name to bentwood furniture factory called TON. The production in Bystřice is to 2,000 pieces of iconic chairs per day and the company is constantly growing. Its output is focused on the manufacture of chairs, armchairs, tables and other wooden furniture and accessories that are shipped worldwide.
And here is how the whole manufacture works. Everything begins by cutting the logs into beams that are processed into desired shapes and sizes. They go through a special bending technique that also we were able to try at the famous fourteen and frankly, it's not all beer and skittles.
To learn the right knack and become a true qualified worker takes up to two years. The bent pieces dry for several days in storage, from where it continues to be assembled and painted. Each chair is worth the work of at least a dozen skilled workmen. Apparently, you wouldn't be able to find a family in Bystřice from which at least one member haven't ever worked in TON. Each piece has known its owner beforehand and is a complete original, both because of the nature of wood from which it is made, and of the touch of human hands. In addition, the TON is working on projects of designers from around the world in the recent years. The latest news that is to be presented this year in Milan and is the epitome of cutting-edge design born in the middle of nature it is the Leaf collection.
When you finally sit with the cup of coffee in your favourite café or when you sit down with your family for Sunday lunch, you will realize that the piece of true and eternal wood is like a book that has a story, an author, and even you are able to write in your unforgettable moments every day.
By: Patrik Florian and Eliška Krutáková | Translation: Denisa Werthanová | Photo: Eliška Krutáková