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Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born in 1886 in a family of stonecutters and in the late nineteenth century attended the Domschule and the commercial school in Aachen to follow. Later he started his apprenticeship, first as furniture designer at Bruno Paul’s Berlin studio, then at Peter Behrens’ studio, a famous architect in New York. Here Mies signed his first projects of glass and steel skyscrapers. The projects are now considered as architectural masterpieces of the modern architecture. Also in the interior design world, he was faithful to the idea that “the useless design” could not be used. In the 1920s he designed the cantilever chair by taking inspiration from Mart Stam’s concept, but he innovated it by using the tubular steel.

As a synthesis of these two ideas, he was able to design the BARCELONA armchair which he defined as a “MONUMENTAL OBJECT”. The structure was identified by the new and elegant scissor-like shape, enabled by the use of the steel. The Barcelona armchair, industrial design icon, was a perfect example of elegance and represented the most famous Mies Van Der Rohe’s motto. He was an emerging artist of the modernist movement and was chosen for designing the German Pavilion for the Universal Exhibition in Barcelona (1929). Mies created a rhythmic and completely unprecedented space. For the first time the materials used during the industrial age became extremely refined and graceful.

Inside the pavilion Mies included chairs and stools conceived as place of rest for the King and the Queen of Spain. In order to design a regal chair, Mies took inspiration from Ancient Rome.

Although the Pavilion of Barcelona was only open for 7 months, the project was recognised as a result which defined modern architecture. Since Mies was Florence Knoll’s friend and mentor, granted him the rights to produce the Barcelona armchair and the stool in 1953.

Although Mies is often linked to the Bauhaus, he created his style before running the famous school in 1930. This design became Knoll’s brand signature. He keeps on producing the collection in accordance with Rohe’s project. After Rohe’s death in 1969, he was considered as one of the most important masters of international style.