20th Century Chair Design: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
27th March 1886 – 17th August 1969

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was a revolutionary, influential architect who was a committed educator, creator of several memorable sayings & most notably a talented furniture designer. His career began working in his father’s stonemasonry business. He went on to complete an apprenticeship with furniture designer Bruno Paul in Berlin & afterwards joined the office of architect Peter Behrens (whose work foretold the modern movement).

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

In 1912 Mies established his own office in Berlin where he later became a member of the Deutscher Werkbund & Director of architecture at the Bauhaus Design School. He also assisted the establishment of the ‘Der Ring’ architectural association.

Illinois Institute of Technology Library and Administration Building Proposal by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

In 1938 Mies immigrated to America, where he established a practice in Chicago. His buildings include:
– The German Pavilion for the 1929 Barcelona Exposition,
– The Tugendhat Villa in Brno, Czechoslovakia
– The Seagram Building (designed with Philip Johnson)
– A cluster of residential towers along Chicago’s Lakeshore Drive in Chicago
– The Illinois Institute of Technology campus (where he was the director of architecture)

Mies van der Rohe successfully encouraged modernist architecture in Europe during the early 20th century & became known as “America’s Greatest Living Architect”. He was one of the most intellectual modernist architects & spent much of his life pursuing a rational approach to design, in hopes to generate a system that could be used to create powerful, aesthetic building similar those he had personally designed.

Barcelona Chair by Mies van der Rohe

Some of his most concise aphorisms such as “God is in the details” & “Less is more” successfully encapsulated his philosophical pursuits, in addition to his simplistic, innately appealing designs. The Barcelona Chair & the Brno Chair are two of his most famous furniture designs, which reflect the same philosophical foundations that influenced his architecture. Both outstanding forms combine sleek modernist steel & luxurious leather which are equally defined by their surrounding space & the structure of the chair itself.

Information Sources:
–  http://iconicinteriors.com/about_us/meet_the_designers/ludwig_mies_van_der_rohe/
–  http://www.knoll.com/designer/designer_detail.jsp?designer_id=122
–  http://www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=4369
–  http://www.design-museum.de/en/collection/100-masterpieces/detailseiten/mr-90-barcelona-sessel-ludwig-mies-van-der-rohe.html
–  http://www.novidecor.com/designers/designers-i-q/ludwig-mies-van-der-rohe.html

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