Adjustable armchair - Sitzmaschine

Josef Hoffmann1905

Olomouc Museum of Art

Olomouc Museum of Art
Olomouc, Czechia

The Viennese geometrical Jugendstil in furniture design was personified by the adjustable armchair Sitzmaschine (a machina for sitting), designed in 1905 by Josef Hoffmann, originally for the Westend Sanatorium in Purkersdorf near Vienna, and which in 1906 was manufactured as bent-wood furniture by J. & J. Kohn Company, under the catalogue number 669. Later several series were also produced by other manufacturers of bentwood furniture. The strict architecture of the geometrical construction of the armchair is underlined by the rectangular decor of the cuts in the plywood in the sides and in the adjustable back support of the armchair. Hoffmann even designed the adjustment of the back support with a steel rod shifted into the steel stops. Distinguishing details are the decorative ovals securing the strengthened connection of the seat and the legs. The armchair developed the popular Morris armchair but its style had a new quality. It is a modern artistic artifact, an object on a new border, which moved the understanding of a unique utility work into the category equivalent to high art.


  • Title: Adjustable armchair - Sitzmaschine
  • Creator: Josef Hoffmann
  • Date: 1905
  • Physical Dimensions: h. 110 cm, w. 65 cm, d. 82 cm; cushions 28 x 75 x 10 cm, 150 x 55 x 4 cm
  • Medium: bent beechwood, grid of squares piercing, textile upholstery (textile design by Joh. Backhausen & Söhne)

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