Image Credit: BKS220R © 2008 Knoll, Inc.
• Design By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich
• Authentic chairs have a facsimile of Mies van der Rohe's signature on its frame.
• It remains one of the most recognizable early 20th century chairs and will remain a design icon.
Originally only two Barcelona chairs were made for the German Pavilion, which was set at the 1927 International Exposition. Spanish Royals Alfonso XIII and Victoria Eugenie of Battenberg were to preside at the cermony and the chair Mies Van Der Rohe was to design would be used to literally seat royalty. Mies has been quoted about the chair "The government was to receive a king. . . . The chair had to be . . . monumental. In those circumstances, you just couldn't use a kitchen chair." So the form that was decided upon became throne-like, modeled after the sella curulis, an ancient stool used by Roman magistrates.
After the exposition the design became so popular that it was put into production, it has been manufactured almost continuously since 1929
Materials + Manufacturing:
Created before the advent of stainless steel ground welding (Invented at the end of the 1800s, Patented in 1913), the frame was designed to be bolted together. Mies redesigned this component it in 1950, allowing the frame to be a seamless piece of metal. Ivory colored pigskin was used on the original Barcelona Chairs but has since been replaced by high quality leather.
Exclusive manufacturing and sales rights accorded to Knoll by the designer in 1953
Knoll manufactures the frame in two different steel configurations, chrome and stainless.
- Seat cushions adapt to fit curve of frame
- Frame welded in single iece construction for ultimate durability
- Leather panels are hand-welted and hand-tufted.
- Leather panels and buttons are created from a single hide.
Barcelona Chair is 29 1/2" W x 30" D x 30 1/4" H with a seat height of 17"
Child's Barcelona Chair is 24" W x 24" D x 25" H with a seat height of 14" (85% scale)
Digital Design Museum: A Century of Chairs - The 1920's
Vitra Design Museum: Mies van der Rohe
New York Times: Knocking Off the Knock-offs (2004)
Resources:Architonic: Photo Gallery
Mies van der Rohe German Pavillion Foundation
Wikipedia: Barcelona Chair
The Museum of Modern Art: Collection
-Chair was inducted into their collection in 1977
Knoll Barcelona Chair & Stool brochure-PDF