This 19th-century German furniture staple is our favorite piece in Sarah Jessica Parker's home

Thonet chairs are renowned for their resilience, elegant curves and contours – a rare combination that isn't lost on SJP

Sarah Jessica Parker
(Image credit: Francois G. Durand/WireImage via GettyImages)

Few furnishings are significant enough to be categorized as 'iconic' – but in the case of a Thonet chair, it's true. 

In 1859, German designer Michael Thonet revolutionized high-quality mass production using bentwood technology – allowing him to create resilient yet beautiful curved furniture that has graced the likes of both Austrian coffee houses and Sarah Jessica Parker's home. 

Yes, the actress's New York home has an uncommon tie to 19th-century Viennese coffee culture in the shape of the Thonet chair, and it looks just as elegant in modern Manhattan as it first did two hundred years ago. Parker shared an image of her chosen model, the No 12 Thonet Caned Bistro Armchair that she uses to seat her book, and we can think of no better addition to her urban reading nook. Tempted to follow suit? If there's ever a time to invest, it's now.

Decorating with antiques of all forms is one way to design with sustainability in mind, but Thonet chairs are particularly favored for their eco-friendly qualities. In 2021, the Thonet 214 chair received the German Sustainability Design Award – as a true testament to its ability to stand the test of time.

'The 214 bentwood chair has been fulfilling the requirements of design quality and sustainability for more than 160 years now, and we are proud to say that it is the design that marked the beginning of Thonet,' comments Norbert Ruf, Thonet's creative director and managing director. 'Receiving the award ‘Winner of the German Sustainability Award Design’ has strengthened our resolve to maintain and invest in our icons.'

Two centuries since Thonet's first chair, the company continues to meet one milestone after another, and the sustainability award is just one example of this. The Frankenberg-based company maintains its tradition by creating bentwood and tubular steel furniture that experiments with new innovations, just as Thonet did in the 1850s. 

With an (albeit unintentional) endorsement from Sarah Jessica Parker, we're already convinced this chair is worth the investment. However, its power is similarly not lost on design experts, including H&G's digital editor, Jennifer Ebert, who agrees that this piece is worth the investment. 

'The Thonet Caned Bistro Armchair is an iconic furnishing designed to last for decades. This piece, like all Thonet chairs, embodies more than two centuries of tradition with perfected aesthetics, maximum comfort, and unrivaled durability. And with the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker among its many admirers, we're not going to disagree.'

Megan Slack
Head of Celebrity Style News

Megan is the Head of Celebrity Style News at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes, before becoming H&G's News Editor in April 2022. She now leads the Celebrity/ News team. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.