Oswald Haerdtl was born in 1899 in Vienna, Austria and was best known for his early expressions of modernist designs. Haerdtl graduated in 1921 from the University of Applied Arts Vienna, and shortly after, worked as an assistant for Josef Hoffman, collaborating on numerous projects. Upon returning from Paris, he joined Josef Frank’s studio Werkbundsiedlung, where he produced some of his first solo projects that would be chosen to represent his home country in the world fairs in Brussels and in 1935 and Paris in 1937.
When Kauffeehaus culture in Vienna regained popularity in the 1950s, Haerdtl concentrated his work on designing cafe interiors, creating furniture, menus, decor, and tableware. Working with Thonet, the heritage Viennese manufacturing masters knwon for using bent wood, Haerdtl designed modernized, mid-century versions of the No. 14 chair. His designs have furnished world-famous cafes such as the Café Prükel, Arabia, and Hotel Bristol.