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1829 -1910 (Germany)
Born in Boppard, August Thonet was one of the early pioneers of German furniture design, using technological innovations and artistic flair to turn the useful into the beautiful. He took over his family furniture manufacturing business, Gebruder Thonet, in 1869, seeking to revolutionise the company's image. His signature style of chair, utilising dramatic, cultural curved wood frames was born out of his desire to construct a machine that could bend wood in such a way that it could be reproduced over and over again, bringing theatricality to the masses. This machine, completed in 1876, would go on to produce some of his most seminal designs, including the No. 33, which is still a mainstay of stylish dining rooms and communal areas the world over.