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