S 43 K

Design for the little ones: the S 43 K children’s chair adds a splash of colour

2021 is the 90th anniversary of the iconic Thonet S 43 tubular steel chair, known for its understated, minimalist shape and timeless design language. A furniture classic, this cantilever chair brings a sense of authenticity and dependability to any room, and in its charming child-size version is the ideal solution in spaces designed for little ones... Thonet now introduces the S 43 K children’s chair in a new colour collection, created by the Hamburg-based design studio Besau Marguerre. The five new shades, inspired by minerals and gemstones, provide beautiful colour accents without being garish or obviously ‘childish’. The stains used are both highly sustainable and safe for children.

Interview with Eva Marguerre and Marcel Besau


If you imagine a chair you would have liked to have as children, how would it have looked? And what would you have liked to use it for?

To a child, a chair is something wonderful that can be used anywhere and everywhere; things are suddenly within reach and the impossible becomes possible. A chair allows you to climb up to things you otherwise couldn’t reach, can be used to build a blanket fort, is the perfect seat for your cuddly toys on your imaginary train and lets you sit at the same level as the rest of the family at the dinner table.

You are both parents yourself: in your opinion, what makes a good children’s chair nowadays?

In addition to safety – which is incredibly important when you have children of your own – a chair has to be sturdy. The chairs in our house serve as both toys and furniture, and aren’t exactly treated gently. We have a variety of very different children’s chairs, and the favourite is a bright yellow one. In that respect, it seems our son takes after his parents.  

S 43 K
S 43 K

Does a child’s room really need designer chairs, and if yes, why?  

For a child, design is probably not all that high a priority. But as parents and as designers, of course, we want our son to develop an awareness for quality and longevity as early as possible. Perhaps it’s a bit about communicating a piece of design history and the diverse nature of design, manufacture, materials and colour. Quality is an important aspect that we need to sensitise our children to, not least because it’s important for sustainability. 

At the same time, it’s a nice thought that, in the best case, a children’s chair is something that survives over generations: a piece of furniture that brings back memories of your childhood which you can pass on to the next generation.

What role do colours play when designing spaces used by children? What effect can or should they have?  

Colours are an important part of human perception, for children and adults alike. Colours create an emotional connection to things in our environment; they can excite us, pique our curiosity, they can stimulate and also calm us down. It’s easy to observe how much more children react to colour than do adults, and they express this as well. One important aspect that we are constantly confronted with is that colour doesn’t always have to mean colourful. A child’s room doesn’t have to be extremely colourful in order to be child-friendly, rather it should be a space that can meet very different needs – sometimes stimulating and sometimes calming. For example, the room could be designed with a balanced mix of subtle, neutral tones and strong, vivid colour accents.

S 43 K

What was your thought process when designing the colour concept for the S 43 K? How did you come to find inspiration in minerals and gemstones?

The value and strength of Thonet classics, and thus also the S 43 (K), lie in their timelessness. They are a pillar of continuity, thus satisfying our need for calm, familiarity and harmony.

The combination of vivid, but warm yellow and orange-red tones exudes warmth and calm and gives a feeling of cosiness, a feeling of home.

This colour palette is then complemented by a darker, cooler grey hue and a vibrant blue. Together, the colours appear very natural and warm. Individually, they each have a rich hue.

For the colour names such as amber, emerald and obsidian, we took our inspiration from mineralogy and geology, hoping to express the continuity and longevity of these classics.

Why is the S 43 model particularly well suited to a children’s version? Is the “swinging” aspect of the cantilever a part of that? And isn’t tubular steel a bit too cold to be used as a material in children’s furniture? 

The swing of the chair certainly adds a bit of playfulness and promotes children’s natural instinct to play. The version with steel and beech wood has a sturdiness that every children’s chair needs in order to stand up to years of play. 

And what is especially wonderful is when a question full of childlike curiosity, such as “why doesn’t the chair have any legs?”, awakens an awareness for creative solutions.  

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