Taylor’s Classics and TON bentwood furniture

BCFA member Taylor’s Classics are excited to announce that they are becoming the only UK Re-seller of TON bentwood furniture. Design Insider asked Roger Belham, Director at Taylor’s Classics, some questions that give an exclusive insight into the company and their close relationship with the TON Bentwood manufacturers.

Roger Belham (2)Please tell us about yourself

I have worked in the contract furniture industry since graduating and enjoyed being involved with all aspects of a company including production, purchasing, marketing and sales. I have been lucky enough to work with some great companies including Benchairs, CS Furniture and now Taylor’s Classics. It has been wonderful to see the growth of Taylor’s Classics over the past 7 years and we all feel that there are more opportunities to come through our policy of investing in design and our manufacturing facilities.

What is the most interesting fact about your company?

We feel that the combination of our manufacturing skills and unique designs set us apart from other suppliers of furniture to the hospitality market. The craftsmanship that we learned as antique dealers and restorers over 25 years ago has stood the company in good stead as we have developed our production capabilities. Traditional skills have enabled the team to become specialists in our in house designed furniture as well as continuing to refurbish our stocks of antique furniture.

These skills have allowed Taylor’s Classics chairs, tables and bespoke items to be specified in restaurants, hotels and bars in the UK, Europe and throughout the world. A fundamental element of our growth has been the development of our relationship with TON furniture. The TON product range includes traditional bentwood furniture which complements our own collections as well as contemporary designs which have allowed us to develop into new markets.


Can you tell us about the heritage of TON and the Thonet brand?

The TON factory dates from 1861 when Michael Thonet opened a bentwood factory in Bystřice pod Hostýnem in what is now the Czech Republic. Thonet chose the site because it was surrounded by beech forests offering enough material for the manufacturing process. It was not long before 300,000 items of bent furniture were being made every year.

By 1912, the number had risen to 445,000 items and the factory employed almost 2,000 people Following the first world war the company had a number of private and public owners but since 1994 it has been a public limited company.

DesignInsiderTaylorsClassicsChairNumber30As a Thonet factory the company produced a number of design classics which are still in production today: Number 18 chair first produced in 1876, Number 30 armchair first produced in 1903 and number 811 chair first produced in 1930.

The bentwood components are manufactured in beech. Each section is steamed in an oven until the timber reaches a moisture content that enables it to be bent into a jig that is made especially for each chair or stool component. This in an extremely skilled task as it requires the craftsmen to ‘feel’ the flexibility of the timber. Once in the jig the component slowly dries in order to avoid splitting. Once dry the components are machined and assembled in a similar manner to normal chair manufacture. The style of the chair is limited only by our imagination and the structural constraints of the timber.

DesignInsiderTaylorsClassicsChairNumber811What does it mean for your company that Taylor’s Classics has become the UK’s only authorised reseller of Ton furniture?

It is fantastic news and reflects the close relationship that the two companies have developed over the recent years. We have the same attitude in terms of an emphasis on quality and customer service. The partnership will increase opportunities for UK customers to have access to the TON collection of traditional and contemporary furniture and what we consider to the best bentwood in the world. We look forward to welcoming customers to our new TON show room in our Stafford factory.

DesignInsiderTaylorsClassicsChairNumber18What do you think is the most important part in the TON design process of creating the chair?

The company understands the potential of bentwood furniture and has a continuing desire to develop new and technologically challenging designs. After nearly 160 years the TON factory has unrivalled knowledge in the design and manufacture of bentwood furniture.

If you would like to see more of Taylor’s Classics’ products, why not visit their website?

Contact Taylor’s Classics