Sep 14, 2007

Mies van der Rohe + The Barcelona Chair


Being as I am in Chicago these days and keep passing a street called Mies van der Rohe, I thought it would be appropriate to post about the Barcelona Chair. The iconic architectural chair is made from a single piece of stainless steel or chromed frame and two leather panels. It is called The Barcelona chair because the designer created it for the German Pavilion at the 1929 Barcelona Exposition. Knoll is the only authorized and licensed manufacturer of the Barcelona Collection and has been since 1953. After the Barcelona collection, opportunities for commissions dwindled for van der Rohe what with the worldwide depression an all. After 1933, Nazi political pressure soon forced van der Rohe to immigrate to the U.S. as his style was rejected by the Nazis as not "German" enough in character. He was given an offer to head Chicago's Armour Institute of Technology and was welcomed in this city as a pioneer of modern architecture (Frank Lloyd Wright now had a serious competitor).
I do love his furniture, but van der Rohe's most significant projects in Chicago are buildings like the residential towers of 860-880 Lake Shore Drive, the Farnsworth House and Crown Hall (the above photo shows the interior of the Farnsworth House with Barcelona couch and chairs). The Barcelona chair usually retails for right around $3,900. That's why I wanted to show this interesting knock-off I saw at Jayson Home & Garden the other day. It' called the Hugo Chair, certainly inspired by the Barcelona Chair and retailing for $1,196 (still a lot of green!)

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did you know that your grandparents, RJ and Ruth lived in a MvdR building at the corner of E. Chestnut and Lake Shore Drive, just a block from Mies vdR street? It is a classic glass and steel building put up in the 1950's but still looking quite contemporary. Caught your blog and thought you should know.

Lisa said...

you may also want to try regency shop for barcelona chair, interestingly they call it the ibiza chair!

Robert Casurra said...

If you are looking for the Barcelona Chair in Miami try Loft Sofa at http://www.loftsofa.com Barcelona + Ottoman in full leather for just $799 in stock for immediate delivery.

Mies van der Rohe Modern Designer said...

Great Designer and lovely chair