Josef Hoffmann was born in Pirnitz, Moravia (now Czechoslovakia) in 1870. He studied architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna under Carl von Hasenauer and Otto Wagner, whose theories of a functional, modern architecture profoundly effected his architectural works. He won the Rome prize in 1895 and the following year joined the Wagner's office.
Hoffmann established his own office in 1898 and taught at the Vienna Kunstgewerbeschule from 1899 until 1936. He was a founding member of the Vienna Secession, a group of revolutionary artists and architects. He actively supported the group by designing its exhibitions and writing for the magazine Ver Sacrum.
Nicknamed Quadratl Hoffmann for his love of geometrical forms, Josef Hoffmann brought a mathematical clarity to his designs that transformed furniture as we know it. His creations were as functional as they were individual, and every Hoffmann piece is designed for comfort and durability as well as original style.
The sheer range of designs Josef Hoffmann created during his lifetime demonstrates a versatility and individuality seldom seen in a single designer. Hoffmanns architecture and furniture inspired forerunners of both Art Deco and the Modern Movement, and his ornamental detailing and geometric shapes are still recreated by designers today.
Arguably one of Hoffmanns greatest contributions to design was to co-found the Vienna Secession in 1903: a community of artists and architects committed to creating architecture, art and textiles that were accessible to the masses. The group championed abstract and functional design over the prevailing conservative, historical influences of the time, and designed buildings as complete works of art, with architecture and furniture working in harmony.