Josef Hoffmann was born in Moravia in 1870. He began studying at the National School of Arts and Crafts in Brno and then at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna where he received lessons of the famous Otto Wagner. He graduated in architecture in 1895, the same year he won the Prix de Rome. Josef Hoffmann is involved, among other things, in the construction of the Vienna metro. He is at the origin of the construction of several villas between 1901 and 1905 in this same city. He is already at this date a pillar of the Viennese Secession. He will draw the Viennese Secession Hall at the 1900 Paris Universal Exhibition.
Hoffmann travels and meets Rennie Mackintosh. From this meeting he kept a taste for craftsmanship and in 1903 he created the Wiener Werkstätte. School of thought advocating the production of high quality household objects. Buildings are drawn entirely on this principle up to the door handles, let us quote the construction of the Soclet palace in Brussels from 1905 to 1911.
In 1920, Josef Hoffmann was named architect of the city of Vienna, consecration after many achievements that are still today main vectors of decorative arts. For the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1925, he designed the Austrian pavilion with Joseph Frank.
From 1899, he taught in Vienna as a professor of architecture and interior decoration, until his retirement in 1936. Design and architecture are one and the same thought for Hoffmann, he is at the origin today of rationalism of the modern movement and some postmodernists claim to be students of its rigor.