Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s philosophy of “Less is More” remains rooted in the creative process of architects, designers and indeed, all creatives today. Mies van der Rohe, the rationalist, with a highly disciplined style of architecture created a chair, nay, a piece of art that achieves a breathtaking level of refinement and beauty through structure and material.
Mies van der Rohe’s ‘Barcelona Pavilion’ represented Germany in the 1929 International Expedition. the chair of legend was created with a metal structure of two chrome-plated flat steel bars and leather capitonné cushions, The Barcelona Chair was born. Informed that Spanish royalty was to preside at the pavilion, Mies van der Rohe stated that it had to be an “important chair, a very elegant chair […] The government was to receive a king. . . . The chair had to be . . . monumental.” Monumental indeed…
The simple yet ingenious form was inspired by ancient Egyptian foldings stools to 19th-century neoclassical furniture. Mies van der Rohe’s concept for the chair was it ‘to be the synthesis of the old and the new’.
Although only 2 chairs were made for the expedition, the design was soon put into production and since then it has become one of the most recognised ‘objets’ of the last century. It is frequently seen within all cultural forms making numerous appearances in films, television and fashion.
Since 1953, Knoll has manufactured the chair following it’s exact original specifications. The manufacturer now contributes to the chair’s more residential feel with softer cushions and new leathers in the ‘relax’ version. The chair continues to be essentially hand-made: 148 pieces of leather make up the cushions and the stainless steel finish is hand-buffed to a mirror finish.
The Barcelona Chair, The Barcelona Chair Relax and Barcelona Chair Day Bed is available at minima.