The Famed Barcelona Chair

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Knoll’s Barcelona Chair was first created as the German Pavilion’s submission for the International Furniture and Design Exposition of 1929 which took place in Barcelona, Spain.  It was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich.  This style of chair was available in limited supply in the United States and Europe from the 1930s through the 1950s.   Six years after Rohe’s death in 1953, he ceded his design rights on this chair to the modern home and office furniture designer, Knoll.  They have been manufacturing it ever since and still hold all trademark rights on the furniture (even though cheaper, less regulated copies are created worldwide on a continual basis albeit not legally).  The ways you can discern if it is a Knoll design are to look at the metal.  Knoll only uses stainless and chrome steel for this design.  Also, the chairs are almost entirely handcrafted and the quality will be obvious. Additionally, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s signature will be stamped into each chair.

The Barcelona chair is very emblematic of the design of the last century and is an icon of modernism that has really flourished.  It was designed for Spanish royalty and even though it is contemporary, takes many painstaking hours to create.  It is a Bauhaus design that was created for royalty and yet is still fit for the common man.  And why wouldn’t you want something in your home that was fit for a king?

How do you make the timelessness of inert, silent objects count for something? How to use the, in a way, dumbness of sculpture in a way that acts on us as living things?
Antony Gormley

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Courtesy of Wikipedia, Knoll

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