The Barcelona Chair :: Designed for a King + Queen

via knoll

via knoll

The Barcelona chair was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, an important architect in the Industrial Style movement.  Industrial Style revolutionized industrial and commercial architecture in the 40s and 50s and is known for its glass and steel boxes.

The chair was designed by Mies van der Rohe along with his paramour Lilly Reich for the German Pavilion at the 1929 International Exposition in, you guessed it, Barcelona, Spain.  The fair organizers planned an opening reception in the German Pavilion and wanted to provide two chairs for the King and Queen of Spain and asked Mies van der Rohe to design them, thus the birth of the iconic chair.

seen in life magazine

seen in life magazine

The design is reminiscent of Roman curules {what’s a curule you say?  Read my Sound Like a Designer post to find out!} with wide tufted back and seat of leather.  The chair and matching ottoman were soon made available to the public, first by Bambert Metalworks in Germany, followed by the American furniture company Knoll. The chair precedes the Mid-Century Modern period, although the chair is most often associated with it.

Knoll has sold more than 20,000 Barcelona chairs in five grades of leather and more than 900 {!!} colors.  The Knoll version goes for $5,429.00 while the matching ottoman is $2,567.00, but there are knock-offs (in various levels of quality) to be found as well.

How can you tell if a Barcelona Chair is the genuine article?

The Cushions ::

  • The real deal’s cushions are made of 40 individual panels and hand-tufted with 24 leather buttons.

The Frame ::

  • The original design has a frame made of premium grade 304 bar stock stainless steel that is then hand-buffed to a mirror finish.  The KnollStudio logo and Mies van der Rohe signature are stamped into the leg,

The Fasteners ::

  • 17 straps made of belt-grade leather and no buckles are attached with aluminum rivets that are covered once the cushions are in place.

The design is ubiquitous in office building lobbies and corporate reception areas {almost to the point of being a cliché} but they can also be incorporated into residential design.  The decor doesn’t have to be modern for the chairs to fit in -- they work just as well in traditional and transitional interiors.

I love, love, love the high-gloss walls in this library and the coordinating red leather Barcelona chairs.

via jorgerusso.com

via jorgerusso.com

Here's that yellow and grey combo that I love so much again!

design :: todd alexander romano.  seen in elle decor

design :: todd alexander romano.  seen in elle decor

Apparently this chair had wine spilled on it so many times that the home owner had to reupholster it.  I think it looks so fun and unique in this large-scale floral pattern.

photo :: teri lyn fisher

photo :: teri lyn fisher

via welt.de

via welt.de

Note how well the modern lines of the Barcelona chairs work with the more traditional chairs and chandelier.

via hgtv.com

via hgtv.com

The chair looks amazing next to this animal print ottoman.  You know me and my love of animal prints!

design :: allen kirsch

design :: allen kirsch

The combination of the traditional architectural details with the modern lighting and furniture totally works in this room, don't you think?

via housetohome.co.uk

via housetohome.co.uk


disclaimer :: all images on this blog are copyrighted by their respective owners.  i do not own any of the images posted unless otherwise stated.  if you see your work on my site without proper credit or you would like it removed, please contact me.