Sunday, September 22, 2013

Boppard iin the Rhine Valley

We were in the town of Boppard in the Rhine valley.   

Late Romanesque - you can see the beginnings of Gothic - with amazing colors.

The colors are much richer in person

13th century crucifix

 We passed an alleyway with two chairs and a sign with a man's name, birth and death dates.  

I decided to look him up on Google: here is what I found. 

 Michael Thonet (the name is pronounced TONE-et)  was born in Boppard and became a cabinet maker.  He used and improved upon centuries old techniques to bend wood, making some of the most memorable chairs ever made.  


 Michael Thonet, a German chair designer, so impressed an Austrian prince with his elegant designs and innovative manufacturing techniques, that he was commissioned to design some woodworking for a palace in Vienna, and then encouraged by higher-ups to relocate his factory to Austria. There, his business flourished to become a late nineteenth-century international success story.

I love this exhibit from Vienna: the shadows are marvelous.
This is an exemplary case of an aesthetically sophisticated designer who was willing to experiment with production techniques. A man dedicated to reductive methods, in which (as a forerunner for the Modernist's "Form Follows Function”) he allowed the intrinsic qualities of his material, wood, to dictate the form of his designs. He was a reductivist in terms of production as well, sparing materials and time with his economical assembly line; turning a handicraft into an international mass-produced industry. He mass-advertised and distributed his furniture by catalogue, indicating that Thonet was also a brilliant early capitalist. He understood the need to develop a consumer society whose needs were created and then met.

Although bentwood furniture was not a Viennese invention, the bentwood chair is still frequently referred to outside Austria as the "Viennese chair.” The technique of bending steamed wood was common as early as the Middle Ages. Born in Boppard on the Rhine, Michael Thonet (1796-1871) was an innovative furniture-maker, and during the 1830s he attempted to develop a technically more economical version of curved, late Biedermeier furniture shapes. He succeeded, using bent and glued laminates. His move to Vienna in 1842 by arrangement with Prince Metternich opened up to him the much wider market of the Austrian Empire. He continued consistently to develop bentwood techniques further, and in 1852 succeeded in registering a patent for the bending of glued laminates into curvi-linear forms, and finally in 1856 a patent for the bending of solid wood. In addition to the further development of bentwood techniques, Thonet's immense achievement lay in his talent for applying these techniques for producing distinctive products whose natural form and timelessness appealed to a broad public. His aesthetic, which developed out of his fascination with a production technique, opened new perspectives in seating furniture.  [‎]

Thursday, September 19, 2013

New Humanitarian Video at YouTube Mormon Channel

The Church has posted a whole series of new videos on the YouTube Mormon Channel .  Lots of different topics to introduce people to the Church.  One of the new videos is on Humanitarian work.

You can find the new video HERE