Barcelona Chair, history of art & design icon


Why is the Barcelona chair so popular? Ludwing Mies van der Rohe chair has become an iconic design in the history of furniture, and even in the world art history in general. It’s a coveted collectible and a piece that shouldn’t miss in any stylish contemporary apartment. It became a chair that set a benchmark for the next generations to follow, in a variety of ways.

For instance, in a time when other designers would choose wood to create elegant seats, the metal choices of Mies van der Rohe put industrial materials at the level of noble ones and demonstrated that they could also look as graceful. He was also able to capture the spirit of the classics and turn it into a time-less modern feature that never gets outdated.  And he also set new quality standards that continue to captivate its users and admirers.


Who designed the Barcelona chair?

Designers of the Barcelona Chair: Mies van der Rohe & Lilly Reich

The Barcelona chair designer was Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), a German architect famous for his motto “Less is more”. He was a pioneer of contemporary architecture, at the same level of Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier, and the last director of the Bauhaus German architecture school. When the nazis ascended to power, he emigrated to the USA, where he became the head of the architecture department of the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and opened his own studio.

His associate Lilly Reich (1885-1947) is also acknowledged to have contributed to the design of the famous Barcelona Chair. She was also a Berliner, a trained fashion-designer that ended up specializing in chair design. She met Mies van der Rohe in 1924, and they soon started collaborating. In 1932 he also invited her to teach in the Bauhaus school, becoming the first female teacher there. When Mies emigrated to the US, she stayed behind to continue running his studio, protecting his archive and also taking care of the architect’s family, that stayed in Germany.
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