Josef Frank designed several bentwood chairs during the late 1920s, some of which were produced for Thonet Mundus AG in Vienna. Chair P5’s original sketch is preserved in Svenskt Tenn’s archives, and its form is inspired by a chair that Adolf Gustav Friedrich Schneck created for Thonet Mundus during the same time period.
The P5 chair was created by Josef Frank for a two-family villa in the renowned Werkbund exhibition in Weissenhofsiedlung, Stuttgart in 1927. Today it is manufactured at Gemla, Sweden's oldest furniture factory, located at the small town of Diö in Småland. In the 19th century, craftsmen from Bohemia came to Diö, bringing with them the knowledge and experience from Thonet's factories. They became the first to introduce the bentwood technique in Sweden.
Josef Frank thought that a dining room chair should be light enough to lift with just a finger, and that it should be easy to move around in an interior. Chair P5 has an open backrest with four rods, which gives the chair a light and airy expression and doesn’t affect the room by putting up extra dividing barriers.
Josef Frank wrote about chair design in the Obs! Magazine in 1954:
“Anyone who sees a chair simply as a piece of furniture to sit on, will always sit uncomfortably. […] I personally never sit on a chair that is designed for just one position. I want the possibility of sitting in different ways for different occasions and at different times of the day.”