Chairs of Importance

13 Apr

Barcelona Chair, 1929 Mies van der Rohe

The Barcelona chair designed by Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich has been in production for the past 80 years with very little design change from the original. As a well-known Bauhaus architect Mies van der Rohe and his partner Lilly Reich based the Barcelona Chair on ancient designs of folding chairs of the Pharaohs and Romans. The Barcelona chair was a key part of the new designs of the period following World War I to revitalize Germany. The Barcelona chair has been one of the most significant designs and is still in production since the original design of 1929.

B3 Chair, 1925  Marcel Breuer

The Wassily Chair, also known as the Model B3 chair, was designed by Marcel Breuer in 1925-1926 while he was the head of the cabinet-making workshop at the Bauhaus, in Dessau, Germany. Despite popular belief, the chair was not designed for the non-objective painter Wassily Kandinsky, who was concurrently on the Bauhaus faculty.This chair was revolutionary in the use of the materials (bent tubular steel and canvas) and methods of manufacturing. It is said that the handlebar of Breuer’s ‘Adler’ bicycle inspired him to use steel tubing to build the chair, and it proved to be an appropriate material because it was available in quantity. The design (and all subsequent steel tubing furniture) was technologically feasible only because the German steel manufacturer Mannesmann had recently perfected a process for making seamless steel tubing. Previously, steel tubing had a welded seam, which would collapse when the tubing was bent.-Retrieved from:

Cabaret Fledermaus Chair A very fun and interesting mini-chair blog! A fabulous design history site.

Hilhouse 1 chair Charles Remmie Macintosh

Charles Remmie Mackintosh is credited for designing the Hilhouse 1 chair from 1902-1903. He and Margaret MacDonald worked together on all design projects and were married. Mackintosh, part of the British Arts and Crafts movement took inspiration from organic elements and combined them with the modern, simplistic geometric influences creating timeless designs that greatly influenced European designs of the time.

MR10, 1927
Mies van der Rohe was heavily influenced by Marcel Breuer’s use of tubular steel, van der Rohe quickly recognized the compatibility of this revolutionary material with contemporary design. Mies incorporated a new material and a new technology in the use of the cantilever principle. “Architecture is a language, when you are very good you can be a poet,” wrote the acclaimed architect and bauhaus director. Mies van der Rohe designed the MR-10 chair in 1927.

Paimio Lounge Chair, Designer  Alvar Aalto Alvar Aalto, a Finnish designer is famous for his “Scroll Chair”originally designed in 1929. Alvar Aalto won a competition to be the Architect, Interior Designer and Furniture Designer for the Paimio Tuberculosis Sanatorium in 1928.

He succeeded in creating a sensitive environment for the patients to recuperate.His thought in positioning for the sun, selection of soothing materials which reduced Hospital “clatter” noise made a cheerful environment for both staff and patients.

He continued those philosophies to design the furniture, especially the Paimio Arm Chair. The TB patient’s breathing was considered with the 110 degree angle of the chair back, the front curve of the arm made it easy to grip for getting in and out of.

The timber surface was easily cleaned. The use of timber creating warmth negated the coldness of institutions

The Paimio Chair is constructed from both two dimensional molded plywood and laminated timber. The curves are made by clamping layers of veneer and glue over a form to achieve the desired curved shapes.

A straight laminated timber crossbar in the upper back stabilized the framework. The continuous curves of the chair seat and back resembled a coil spring – this provided extra resilience to the plywood design. Retrieved from

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Posted by on April 13, 2013 in History 221 Class Notes


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