The Barcelona chair by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was made by Knoll. In the first part of our Design Deconstructed series, Knoll takes up this groundbreaking design from Knoll’s catalog once again to track its development from the initial concept to a coveted collector’s item. This chair was originally made with the assistance of modernist designer Lilly Reich. It was a contribution to the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona, Spain.
It was produced in very limited quantities in the 1930s and 40s. The design was later modified by Mies to make it slightly slimmer. In 1953, Knoll Associates took over production after its original patents had expired. The highly polished stainless steel forms the basis of the Barcelona Chair and consists of one piece.
However, this was not always the case. The first series production of the chair was commissioned by the company “Berliner Metallgewerbe Josef Müller”. In this sense, perhaps no other piece of furniture is a more iconic staple of modernist design than the Barcelona chair. There has been some controversy over whether or not Knoll International can still claim the patent rights for this style of chair.
The original Barcelona chair consists of 17 strips of leather (other materials such as vinyl may indicate imitators), which are evenly distributed on the back and under the bottom cushion in a ladder-like manner. To make sure you’re buying a high-quality original instead of a reproduction, learn more about identifying an authentic Barcelona chair with these steps. The design world attracted attention and the chairs have been in almost continuous commercial production ever since. The Barcelona Chair is a joint idea of modern master Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich.
A variety of throw pillows soften the modern lines of the sectional sofa and Barcelona chair in this casual family space. As an aspiring figure in the modernist movement, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was chosen to design the German Pavilion for the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona. Knoll International (the company’s name since 196) is still producing, the less is more Barcelona chair today. Of course, leather or fabric can be applied to almost any chair, such as a modern swivel chair or a modern chaise longue.
If a sofa is considered a good spot for an afternoon nap, the lounge chair in the living room is the right place to curl up with a book, a crossword puzzle, or record a movie. A wood-frame lounge chair in classic Danish style, for example, has a more compact shape and is good for tight spaces. The chairs are almost completely handmade and each has a facsimile of Van der Rohe’s signature, which is stamped into the frame. If space is less important, a larger piece with a larger floor area can be selected for both a comfortable lounge chair and the space it occupies and its relationship with a large room.