Ahh… the Barcelona Chair. The iconic, the legendary, the modern seat of culture. Since 1929 this chair has been breaking hearts and breaking banks: starting at a mere $5068 you, too, can plunk your rump into one of furniture’s most celebrated designs. But really, this chair is great. Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (a Deutsche mensch) for the German Pavilion at the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona, the Barcelona was met with critical acclaim for its adoption of form (inspired by imperial folding chairs of the Roman Empire) and beautiful design. This was a decisive victory for Germany, who, still reeling from the First World War, was out to demonstrate their artistic ability, as well as redefine their capacity for creative culture. Originally, the chair was bolted, but in 1950, the design was changed to be on sleek piece of petal cradling the individual cushions allowing for a smoother more fluid design. Since van der Rohe’s patent on the chair expired in the ‘50s there have been epic legal battles over this chair. Knoll originally bought the patent after its expiration but there continue to be unauthorized reproductions of the chair sold for moins cher. However, Knoll honors Herr Ludwig by stamping his signature into each chair… lucky him!
The great thing about this design is that it works so many ways: contemporary minimalist, rustic home, throw a pillow on, put it with some Louis chairs. It’s amazing how many spaces this design adapts to!