Founder of the world’s most essential café chair (also known as the No. 14 Chair), Thonet was the lifelong passion of German-Austrian founder Michael Thonet. In the early 1830s, Thonet became convinced that wood could be turned pliable if only it was treated right. One could call it aiming to turn water into wine, but applying heat to wood veneer turned out to be the trick. The adroit method paved the way for not only pack-and-assemble Thonet pieces, but the statement pieces of curvaceously precocious designers-to-come like Hans Wegner and Alvar Aalto.