Monday, November 16, 2009


Considered one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
(1938-1969) sought to establish a revolutionary architectural style representative of the modern era. The modern city with its towers of glass and steel can be at least in part attributed to the influence of Mies. Equally significant, if smaller in scale, is Mies' daring design of furniture; pieces that exhibit an unerring sense of proportion, as well as minimalist forms and exquisitely refined details. In fact, his chairs have been called architecture in miniature exercises in structure and materials that achieve an extraordinary visual harmony as autonomous pieces or in relation to the interiors for which they were originally designed.
Mies and Lilly Reich designed what is perhaps his most famous creation. Created for the German Pavilion at the Barcelona International Exhibition, the Pavilion or Barcelona chair was intended as a modern throne; a thick cushion upholstered in luxurious leather and set upon a curved metal frame in the shape of an X inspired by classical furniture. Perfectly proportioned and finished, the simple chair exuded an air of elegance and authority.In 1938, Mies emigrated from Europe and moved to Chicago. The rest of his career was devoted to promoting the Modernist style of architecture in the U.S., resulting in rigorously modern buildings such as the Farnsworth House and the Seagram Building, designed with Philip Johnson. Perhaps the best summation of his work is Mies' own: “thoughts in action”.

related links:

images: (click on images to enlarge)
Barcelona/Pavilion chair & ottoman for Knoll
Barcelona table for Knoll
Barcelona couch for Knoll
S533 RF for Thonet
Seagram Building New York City c1958

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