Mies van der Rohe – Designer Of The Barcelona Chair

Mies van der Rohe was a German architect, born in Aachen in 1886. He is best known for his architectural work particularly in glass and steel buildings and is considered one of the masters of modern architecture.

Although his design work in chairs was not prolific it has a timeless quality to it. He first started designing chairs and furniture in the 1920’s generally for the interiors of the buildings he was creating.

He and Lilly Reich collaborated on a new cantilever chair based on a tubular steel framework. Incorporating curved frames the Brno chair launched at the end of the 1920’s based around a flat steel chromed framework.

In the early 1930’s he an d Lilly Reich produced what is undoubtedly his most famous range of seating for the Barcelona International Exhibition.Barcelona Chair

The Barcelona chair and stool had a thick leather cushion supported on a curved X shaped frame to give a wonderfully proportioned, elegant seat. A simple couch and table made up the range.

Due to the worsening political situation Mies van der Rohe left Germany for the USA in 1938 and spent the rest of his career in promoting modern architecture, principally in glass and steel.

Whilst Mies van der Rohe wasn’t a prolific chair designer, those that he did create have a wonderfully timeless quality to them and remain extremely popular some 27 years after his death.


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Charles And Ray Eames Classic Chair Designers

The husband and wife team of Charles and Ray Eames is probably one of the most famous associated with the design of Office Chairs.

Charles and Ray were Americans and are probably best known for some of their later work with cast aluminium framed chairs for Herman Miller, some of which are still sold today by companies such as Vitra.

Some of their earlier successes though were in developing fibreglass and plywood chairs in the 1940s for the office furniture company Herman Miller.

Bending and forming plywood into tight curves and angles tends to cause the wood to splinter, by experimenting and cutting out holes and patterns in the chair shell they were able to relieve theses stresses and solve the problem.

The function of the Office Chair’s design was always Charles Eames’ primary consideration. It had to work first and foremost, and then the design details could be fine tuned.

Here are some great resources where you can explore the work of these famous designers in more detail.


Next week, I’ll consider the work of another famous chair designer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

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Design classics in office chairs

This is just a brief post to announce a new feature for my Office Chair Blog.

Over the next few weeks I will be featuring some of the classic Office Chair designs of the last 70 years. Famous names like Charles Eames, LeCorbusier, Arne Jacobson and Mies van der Rohe to name but a few.

So be sure to check back over the coming weeks for more about these designers and their classic chairs.

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