Barcelona chair & ottoman (1929)
Barcelona daybed (1929)
The Barcelona chair was exclusively designed for the German Pavilion, that country’s entry for the International Exposition of 1929, which was hosted by Barcelona, Spain.
The design resulted from collaboration between the famous Bauhaus architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and his longtime partner and companion, architect and designer Lilly Reich, whose contributions have only recently been acknowledged. An icon of modernism, the chair’s design was inspired by the campaign and folding chairs of ancient times.
The frame was initially designed to be bolted together, but was redesigned in 1950 using stainless steel, which allowed the frame to be formed by a seamless piece of metal, giving it a smoother appearance.
Bovine leather replaced the ivory-colored pigskin which was used for the original pieces.The functional design and elements of it that were patented by Mies in Germany, Spain and the United States in the 1930s have since expired.
The Barcelona chair was manufactured in the US and Europe in limited production from the 1930s to the 1950s. In 1953, six years after Reich’s death, van der Rohe ceded his rights and his name on the design to Knoll, knowing that his design patents were expired. This collaboration then renewed popularity in the design.
The Barcelona daybed is related to the most famous Barcelona chair and also the Barcelona bench by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The design of the Barcelona daybed is based on the same material as the Barcelona chair.
Mies van der Rohe designed the frame for the Barcelona daybed in 1929 – the same year he designed the Barcelona chair. The Barcelona daybed has its name from the famous exposition in 1929 in Barcelona where both the spanish royals and also attending was several European government officials.
Wassily Chair aka Model B3 chair (1925)
The chair later known as the “Wassily” was first manufactured in the late 1920s by Thonet, the German-Austrian furniture manufacturer most known for its bent-wood chair designs, under the name Model B3.
It was first available in both a folding and a non-folding versions. In this early iteration, the straps were made of fabric, pulled taut on the reverse side with the use of springs. Black and white fabric were available, as well as a popular wire-mesh fabric version.
The Thonet produced version of the chair is most rare, and went out of production during World War II.
After the War years, Gavina picked up the license for the Wassily, along with the Breuer designs previously sold by Standard-Möbel, Lengyel & Co., and introduced the more recognized Wassily version that replaced the fabric with black leather straps, though the fabric version was still made available.
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.
The Wassily chair, like many other designs of the modernist movement, has been mass-produced since the late 1920s, and continuously in production since the 1950s. A design classic is still available today.
Though patent designs are expired, the trademark name rights to the design are owned by Knoll of New York City. Reproductions are produced around the world by other manufacturers, who market the product under different names.