Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
(1886, Achen – 1969, Chicago)

Barcelona armchair




In the spacious interior of the German pavilion, erected for the international industrial exhibition in Barcelona 1929, armchairs, stools and tables were exhibited, that are produced today under the common name of Barcelona. The armchair and the stool have a simple, X-shaped construction, made of chromed and polished steel, upholstered with leather. Much alike a modern design for a royal throne, which reminds of the mediaeval X chair, it also serves its prime function - as a resting place for the Spanish royal couple during their walk around the exhibition. At the same time, the armchair and the other pieces of furniture from the pavilion promoted the use of steel pipes and simple, non-decorated forms in the design of luxurious furniture.

The timeless beauty of the Barcelona pavilion furniture and the adhering sofa was achieved through a perfect balance of the proportions, function and craftsmanship, according to Mies’s principles “less is more” and “God is in details”. His assistant in designing the Barcelona collection was his student from Bauhaus, Lilly Reich, who designed functional steel pipe furniture herself during the 1930’s.