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Pavilian Chair: The history of the Barcelona chair


The Barcelona Chair was originally conceived and exclusively designed for the German Pavillion building, Germany's entry piece for the 1929 Ibero-American Exposition, hosted in the city of Barcelona, Spain. This iconic, modernistic design masterpiece was a collaborative creation between the famous Bauhaus architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe  and the architect/designer, Lilly Reich, his companion and partner.

Barcelona chair in Red leather 

Barcelona chair in Red leather


Inspiration for the chair was taken from the folding chairs of ancient times, notably the Pharaohs and the X-shaped footstools of the Romans. Drawing from these formal and royal influences, afforded this modern design a cultural and intellectual gravitas which was appreciated by the highly cultured and educated audience in attendance at its unveiling.


The Barcelona Chair, also referred to as the Pavilion chair, quickly secured a reputation as a design worthy of royalty. The Barcelona Chair was redesigned by Mies in 1950, using stainless steel in the manufacture to form the frame from a singular piece of metal.


The Barcelona was even honoured with the Museum of Modern Art Award in 1977.


Barcelona chair in black leather

Barcelona chair in black leather


Famed Bauhaus architect Mies van der Rohe and his partner Lilly Reich based the Barcelona Chair on the campaign and folding chairs of the Pharaohs and Romans, bringing a modern yet timeless flair to this ancient and regal design. The chair served as a centerpiece of the German Pavilion at the International Exhibition, which van der Rohe also designed. Germany was in the midst of a resurgence, after the devastation of World War I, and design and architecture was a huge part of the nation’s “comeback”. van der Rohe’s pavilion was a success, and his chair was the talk of the design world.


Barcelona chair in brown leather


The Barcelona Chair has been in production for almost 80 years since, with very few changes distinguishing it from the first version. Originally designed before the advent of stainless steel and seamless ground welding, the frame was designed to be bolted together. However, in 1950, with the development of stainless steel, van der Rohe re-designed the chair with a seamless metal frame. Cowhide replaced the expensive pigskin used in the original chair. But other than that, the Barcelona chairs manufactured today are exactly as they were in 1929. Modern. Timeless. In a word, perfect.


Barcelona chair in white leather



Keywords in the article: Stainless steel furniture, stainless steel furniture,furniture, creative office chair, modern classic furniture,Furniture Manufacturers,Home Furniture,Living Room Furniture

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