The Barcelona chair came about in 1929 as a design for the Royal Family of Spain. The designer is a German by the name of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. This is where the chair gained its iconic status and is classic still around today.
Mies is a pioneer in the design of modern furniture, the simple styles come along with the use of clean lines and modern materials. Some of these materials include plate glass and stainless steel. Mies started out his career working in a stone-carving store owned by his father. He never received any sort of formal training.
His designs were based on style that would suit the industrial age in a modern way. In 1929 he set about designing a German Pavilion used for the Barcelona Exposition. In the design he included two chairs made specifically for the King and his wife. This was for the purpose of resting on their visit.
His inspiration of the chairs stemmed from a Roman stool that had the ability fold as well as an Egyptian chair that folded. The King and the Queen never sat in these chairs as they did not enter the pavilion on their visit. The chairs represented thrones. Many of his previous ideas on designs never made it to the building stage.
However he was still involved in numerous other projects and some of these included being director of the school known as Bauhaus up until the 1933 as it was then shut down on by Nazis. He moved to the United States and over time was granted an American citizenship. In America he was responsible for the designs of numerous buildings. Some famous buildings included the twin towers located in Chicago and in the New York the famous Seagram building.
He never returned to Germany but still visited Berlin during the construction phases of the national gallery that he designed. In the year 1950 Mies redesigned the Barcelona chair by use of modern techniques. The frame of the chair was molded from a piece of stainless steel which did not require bolting together like the previous ones. The Pigskin was the original material used for the chair and this was then upgraded to leather from a cow on the new design of the chair.
The new design of the Barcelona chair was taken up by a company by the name of Knoll who to this day still produces these iconic classic pieces. The chair has now become an item that is mass produced on a much larger scale.
However, the upholstery of the chair has individual panels that amount to 40 for each and every chair. This gives the chair the quality of a piece that has been handmade, which is what contributes to the high price.
The Barcelona chair is a classic piece that can turn any living space into something spectacular. The design of the chair provides comfort and style to a number of settings and has stood the test of time.