1989 — 2010

Newfound freedom
The year 1989 brought TON the opportunity to reintroduce itself to the world and to redefine the legendary story of furniture from Bystřice pod Hostýnem for the new millennium. TON was legally restructured as a state-owned company in 1989 and became a privately owned joint-stock company in 1994. Throughout the 1990s the newly privatised company focussed mostly on producing chair models with a traditional look and on searching for new opportunities. The change in the country’s political system necessitated reorientation towards new markets, and TON worked hard on reaching customers in Western Europe and the USA. This was a time of great soul-searching for a company facing the decision of whether to become a manufacturing facility for other brands or continue to produce its own furniture. TON chose the latter path.
With the start of the new millennium, TON began to build the brand’s new identity, to create the company’s marketing and visual strategy, and to introduce modern automation into the production process. The company also started to collaborate with designers: Tom Kelley joined TON in 2004 as Art Director and contributed to the overall strengthening of the brand’s design potential. One of Kelley’s ideas was the creation of the sub-brand Tonster, an idea that was ultimately abandoned. This period was also characterised by the clean and simple designs of the Prague-based studio Olgoj Chorchoj, the Czech designer Jaroslav Juřica and the Danish designer Mads K. Johansen. The path had been laid for the emergence of the new TON, with international trade fair success just around the corner.
Catalogues from the 1990s were designed by Zdeněk Pleha.
Norma chair was part of the so-called American Line, which became popular during the 1990s.
Tom Kelley, TON’s first Art Director.

Restructuring of TON

The agreement to create the joint stock company TON a. s. with headquarters in Bystřice pod Hostýnem was signed on 13 December 1993 in the offices of JUDr. Petr Bílek. The agreement defined in five brief pages the establishment of TON as a privately held company and formed the basis for the company’s new direction.
Petr Josínek was the company’s chief executive officer between 1996 and 2008.

200-year anniversary of the birth of Michael Thonet

The year 1996 marked 200 years since the birth of Michael Thonet, the founder of the Moravian furniture industry. To commemorate the occasion, TON installed a memorial statue featuring the iconic chair No.14 in the Bystřice factory complex.


The collaboration between TON and the Italian designer Alexander Gufler has significantly influenced the current look of the TON brand. TON’s management team first noticed Gufler in 2010 at the IMM trade fair in Cologne. Gufler introduced his Merano armchair at the fair, and the armchair was soon incorporated into the TON product portfolio.
In 2020 Alexander Gufler designed TON’s first limited-edition piece: Petit Merano.
Merano is built on the union of a geometric chair base with a pressed-plywood seat and backrest.


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