Take a backrest, a seat and four legs, pack it all in a box
and you’ve got “Kitt”, the chair Stefan Diez designed for Hay.
Photo © Jonathan Maloubier, Stefan Diez Office
The right
by Martina Metzner
Jul 6, 2014

Café chair, no. 2? Thonet showed how to do it in the mid-19th century with its “No. 14” bentwood chair. Sure, the chair that then conquered the cafés and homes of this world is not to be touched; but Stefan Diez and Hay have set out to launch a chair that takes stock of all the technological and mercantile changes since, and which could appeal to a great many.

Thonet’s “No. 14” (well, it’s model “214” today) is estimated to have sold a good 50 million times by 1930. Because it did so many things differently: It was lightweight, affordable, fitted in a small package, and easily dispatched. A one-cubic-meter crate could hold 36 chairs. With this chair, Thonet launched a veritable “consumer article”. Now “Kitt”, developed by Stefan Diez for Hay, is likewise lightweight and simple to take apart for swift dispatch, and clients can easily assemble it themselves; with only five parts involved it’s easier than any standard Ikea item.

Unlike back in the days of “No. 14”, the 3.6-kg-light “Kitt” is sent directly to clients, in a compact pack measuring only 70 x 60 x 15cm. The seat and backrest are made of ash, the connectors or plastic, and the finished article is available in black, grey, sand, mauve and white. Not just the design is compelling, so is the price. Kitt’ll market at less than 200 euros says Stefan Diez Office.
The reference to Thonet’s “No. 14” is no coincidence, as the structure reveals: the front legs are screwed into the seat frame, while the back ones are shaped like a U and are screwed onto the frame and hold the backrest. In terms of appearance, “Kitt” seems a bit more Nordic than Viennese, however, with its closed back and the emphasis on natural wood and rounded shapes.

Rolf Hay wanted a smart, cheap and easily mailed “online chair”, and Diez’s design truly fits the bill. And “Kitt” has certainly not suffered from having parted company with more expensive (but less stable) elements, such as a wooden connector between the back legs and the backrest, and instead relies on plastic. On the contrary, it easily survives the drop-test. “Kitt” will hit the markets in the fall.
Mission accomplished!

MORE on Stylepark:

In Chair World: Any designer worth his salt must at some point in his career design a chair.
(30 October 2011)

Re-interpreting tradition: Stefan Diez has created two chairs for long-standing furniture makers Thonet.
(16 April 2007)

“Online chair” with Nordic flair: “Kitt“. Photo © Jonathan Maloubier, Stefan Diez Office
Light weight with 3.6 kg. Photo © Jonathan Maloubier, Stefan Diez Office
Imagevideo „Kitt“ by Stefan Diez for Hay © Stefan Diez Office
The reference to Thonet’s “No. 14” is no coincidence. Photo © Stefan Diez Office
The crux at “Kitt“ lies between the legs and the backrest. Photo © Stefan Diez Office
“Kitt” in the testing phase at Stefan Diez‘ office. Photo © Stefan Diez Office
With only five parts involved it’s easier than any standard Ikea item. Photo © Stefan Diez Office
"Kitt"’ll market at less than 200 euros. Photo © Stefan Diez Office
Mission accomplished – Stefan Diez on his “Kitt”. Photo © Stefan Diez Office
Plastic instead of wood at the connector to the backrest. Photo © Stefan Diez Office