If you’ve never heard of the Barcelona Chair, then where have you been? This is one iconic chair – so much so that it has its very own page in the Yellow Pages in Barcelona.
The chair was the brainchild of German designer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1929. You might think that a design this old would be hugely outdated, but it remains a highly popular modern classic to this day.
Mies, as he his more easily known as, designed the impressive chair for the Spanish Royal Family. The design was perfect simplicity with clean lines and modern materials, echoing his architectural designs that featured stainless steel and glass.
His rather grand-sounding name was somewhat of a disguise. He was born to a humble family; his father was a tradesman and Mies had no formal training in architecture or design. He adopted the ‘van der Rohe’, his mother’s maiden name, in an attempt to hide his lowly roots.
No matter his start in life, he developed revolutionary designs for a new age of modern industrialism. A lot of his ideas never came to fruition, but in 1929 he was asked to design the Barcelona Exposition’s German Pavilion.
A replica of part of what he designed still stands on that site today. He also made two chairs for the King and Queen so that they could rest while visiting the Exposition. His inspiration? An Egyptian folding chair and Roman folding stool to replicate the idea of a throne. Sadly, the Royal couple did not sit in the Pavilion. Get a stunning Barcelona Chair Replica from Pash Classics. Enjoy all the benefits of timeless style without the price tag with a Barcelona Chair Replica.
In 1930, Mies was made director of the famous Bauhaus School until 1933 when it was shut down by the Nazis. In 1937 he emigrated to the United States and was to become an American citizen. In the U.S, he designed high-rise buildings in both New York and Chicago. He was also commissioned to design a new national gallery for Berlin. He visited during construction but never again lived in Germany.
By 1950, Mies was busy redesigning the Barcelona Chair. He wanted to utilise more modern techniques in which the frame could be moulded from one single piece of stainless steel instead of bolting pieces together. The seat, which was originally pigskin was also updated to cow leather.
The company Knoll began producing the chair which they still do today. Even though it is an item that is mass-produced, a single chair still consists of 40 separate panels from a single hide, giving it all the style and quality of a hand-made piece of furniture.