Goetheanum (CH), Thonet (DE), Studio Claudy Jongstra (NL), Sekem (EG), Biodynamic Federation Demeter International (DE), Weved (NL), Entheos (ES), De Beersche Hoeve (NL) and Iona Stichting (NL)
Together with the partners listed above, the Goetheanum has created a forward-looking profile, bringing together the last 100 years of anthroposophical work with creative ideas for the future in its Goetheanum World Conference 2023. Artists, agriculturalists and entrepreneurs have joined forces to develop the Goetheanum cantilever chair. The copyright to this revolutionary design and Thonet’s exclusive rights of use to it were transferred to the General Anthroposophical Society in 1986 as stipulated in Mart Stam’s will. Thus, this special edition is, in essence, a homage to Stam.
The Thonet S 33 tubular steel cantilever chair – a chair without back legs – was the very first design of its kind. Back in 1926, Dutch architect and designer Mart Stam began experimenting with gas pipes, joining them together to make a tubular frame using standard angle connectors. This frame would ultimately become an innovative tubular steel chair without back legs, a design recognised as a work of art by the highest court in Germany in the early 1930s. Such official recognition was and remains a rarity for an everyday item like a piece of furniture. The artistic essence of the chair was seen in the lines of the tubular frame, which are reminiscent of the contours of a cube. This design principle with its clean lines symbolised a new perspective on architecture and on life itself. Mart Stam’s now world-famous chair has thus long been regarded as an icon of modern furniture design. And today this modernist design has been brought together with soft, organic elements comprising biodynamically farmed wool, cotton and plant dyes.
We use cotton (Sekem), wool (Studio Claudy Jongstra and Weved) and plant dyes (from the Goetheanum garden) that have been biodynamically and organically produced in Demeter-certified farms in Europe and in Egypt – entirely without chemicals or pesticides. The workers work under socially just conditions and are treated fairly. We view animals, plants and the soil as living organisms. The sun, the moon and the planets are our guide as we farm the land. An act of co-creation between humans, animals, plants and minerals.
Our manufacturing practices and consumer behaviour will have to change drastically. The products of the future must meet social, environmental and economic standards but must also be durable, strong and long-lasting. Objects, their form and their colours will not stay the same but rather will change with the natural flow of time. This is something we will all have to get used to.
Photos: © Xue Li / Goetheanum