How the Barcelona Chair came to be

How the Barcelona Chair came to be

When given the task of designing a chair fit for royalty, you might understandably feel a little pressure to come up with a masterpiece. However, the famous architect and designer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe did just that when he designed the Barcelona Chair, a piece of furniture whose popularity and style has not wavered for nearly a century.

Known as one of the leading names of architecture in the modernist style, Mies worked on the project along with a German designer called Lilly Reich, to create the chair for the German Pavilion area, part of the 1929 International Exhibition being held in Barcelona. Spain’s king and queen were intending to visit the German Pavilion for the opening of the event, so the seating on offer clearly needed to be fit for royalty.


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The Barcelona Chair and a stool designed to go with it were, and still are, thought to be like a modern throne. The shape of the base frame was allegedly inspired by the design of curule chairs, folding chairs with curved legs and no back which originated in ancient Rome and intended for use by high ranking government officials.

The design that Mies and Reich created was an innovative piece of furniture, mostly unadorned but with modern techniques, the perfect blending of form and function. This harmonised well with the belief that Mies held of “less is more.” For your own iconic Barcelona Chair Replica, visit a site like

Barcelona Chair

The original design, which has seen some changes over the years, featured a thin chrome plated steel frame that curved and crossed under the rear of the seat, creating a distinctive X shape. With an obvious lack of armrests, a wide seat covered in plush cow leather (the original was pig skin) and examples of hand-tufting techniques in a smart grid pattern on the back and the seat.

Even though the Barcelona chair immediately gained attention and recognition in the world of design, just a few models were produced during the next 15 years or more. The Barcelona Chair was not mass-produced until the late 1940s, when the Knoll Furniture Company took over the production. They have been producing the iconic chair ever since.

Despite the chair’s design being 90 years old, it still resonates with those who appreciate sleek, modernist design in furniture. You will still find this chair in homes, offices, and hotel lobbies around the world. The chair is available in a range of coloured leather. A good vintage piece will set you back thousands but there are excellent replicas so you can enjoy all the benefits without the hefty price tag.

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