The Barcelona chair is yet another example of how simplicity of design can give a chair a wonderful fluidity and a shape that just never dates.
The Barcelona originated in 1929 when German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was commissioned by his government to design a German pavilion for the World Arts Fair in Barcelona that year.
Having created a modern building, he now set out to design seating that was worthy of inclusion in the pavilion.
The three principles that Mies considered essential in his chair design were weight, strength and comfort. The chairs had to be easy to handle, very durable and pleasing to sit in.
Realizing the importance of the occasion, he also wanted the chairs to look important and elegant, they really needed to make a statement.
From these design principles the Barcelona range was created and has proved immensely popular ever since, becoming a design icon in the process.
As might be expected, there are imitations of the Barcelona being manufactured, varying widely in quality.
If it’s a Knoll made unit it will have Mies van der Rohe and Knoll logo stamped on the frame, so it’s not difficult to tell the genuine article from a reproduction.
The Barcelona Range
There are four separate pieces of furniture within the Lounge Seating range.
Apart from the chair, there is also a stool, a glass topped table and a couch. Let’s take at the most popular item first, the chair.
The Barcelona Chair
Originally, built on a chrome frame, a stainless steel option was added in 1950, once the technology became available.
Chrome remains the more popular choice and each frame is hand ground and buffed to give a mirror finish. Supporting upholstery straps made in high quality cowhide are fitted to the frame.
The upholstery comprises 40 individual panels each hand welted and tufted with leather and buttons taken from a single hide. Cushion interior fillings are high quality urethane with Dacron polyester fiberfill to give a feather down feel to the finished chair.
The chair dimensions are 29.5 inches wide by 30 inches deep by 30.25 inches high overall and a seat height of 17 inches.
The Barcelona Stool
The stool is constructed along the same lines as the chair and is 25 inches wide by 23.25 inches deep by 14.75 inches high. There is also an alternative stool with cowhide slings only.
It is slightly smaller at 21.5 inches wide by 23 inches deep by 14.75 inches high and only comes in a chrome frame.
The Barcelona Glass Top Table
The table is supported on a very simple pair of cruciform of goalpost leg frames, welded into a single piece component.
The glass top is 40 inches by 40 inches and comes in either standard glass or Starphire glass, a low impurity material giving a crystal clear luminance.
Tables come in two heights 17 inches, the same as the chair or slightly higher at 18.5 inches.
The Barcelona Couch
This is built around a hardwood timber frame which is supported on four tubular polished stainless steel legs. The frame is fitted with cowhide straps to support the upholstery which is built to the same specification as the chair.
One end of the couch is fitted with a bolster cushion attached to the main upholstery with straps and lock studs.
The couch dimensions are 39 inches wide by 78 inches long by 15.35 inches high (25 inches high to the top of the bolster).
What’s the best way to get hold of these seating products?
They can be purchased both offline and via the web.
If you prefer buying offline then you’ll need to contact KnollStudio direct on 1-800-343-KNOLL or one of their appointed distributors.