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May 2019

Thonet’s 200-year celebrations continue at Clerkenwell Design Week



Over the course of two years, students of the design and architecture departments at the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf  designed a new tubular steel seminar table which is visually related to the iconic Thonet cantilever chair S 43 (design and artistic copyright: Mart Stam). A jury consisting of professors and representatives of Thonet selected the winning design from among designs resulting from seminars and competitions: the PBSA Table by Zohair Zouirech, named after the merger of the two departments into the Peter Behrens School of Arts.


Day-to-day university life with design icons    

1,000 pieces of the Thonet cantilever chair S 43 with their clear construction serve as inspiration for the students of both departments. The strictly cubic chair without back legs provides a high level of seating comfort and relaxed posture thanks to the slightly flexing effect. The students took this tubular steel classic as a model and, as part of design seminars and competitions, developed seminar tables for the various requirements in day-to-day study life. In addition, the new tables were to be a perfect match for the S 43. The profile of requirements for the table also included practical qualities for a highly flexible day-to-day university life: it was to function as a vertical presentation surface, provide room for four to six persons, be durable, and allow for conversion or disassembly without tools. Thonet produced prototypes of the best designs and intensively tested them. Based on the test report, professors of the design and architecture departments together with representatives of Thonet selected Zohair Zourech’s design as the winner of the internal university competition. 


For more than one year, Zouirech together with Thonet, the model making and prototyping workshop, the Labor für Form + Raum of Peter Behrens School of Arts, and Bahsys GmbH (table fitting) developed the PBSA seminar table, which is named after the umbrella brand of the design study courses. The special commitment of the workshops and the designer led to an individual solution for the fittings which meets the special requirements for flexibility and durability. Thonet supplied the tubular steel table frames in grey, matching the frames of the S 43 chairs. The grey of the chair’s moulded plywood seat and backrest is also repeated in the tabletop of the PBSA Table in the architecture department. The PBSA seminar table is not available on the market and was exclusively produced for the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf.


Studying in the spirit of a great role model: the Peter Behrens School of Arts

Named after one of the most important 20th century product designers, the design and architecture departments of the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf today carry the name Peter Behrens School of Arts. The University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf was established in 1971 based on the merger of several renowned institutions, including the State School of Engineering Düsseldorf and the Peter Behrens Werkkunstschule. Today, more than 10,000 students are enrolled at the university.


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