Modern Icons: Marcel Breuer's Wassily Chair
Meet a Tubular Steel Bauhaus Chair Inspired By a Bike
Houzz Contributor. Hi There! I currently live in a 1920s cottage in Atlanta that I'll describe as "collected." I got into design via Landscape Architecture, which I studied at the University of Virginia. I've been writing about design online for quite a few years over at Hatch: The Design Public Blog.
Houzz Contributor. Hi There! I currently live in a 1920s cottage in Atlanta... More »
You may have seen an ideabook about totally tubular chairs last week, and if you read it, I promised to share a little more about the Wassily Chair by Marcel Breuer. Breuer was an architect, Bauhaus instructor and innovative furniture designer, whose material of choice was tubular steel. He created many well-known pieces, but the most well known is likely the Wassily chair. This chair consists of curvy tubes and leather slings which result in ergonomic comfort and a sculptural yet minimal form. Created in 1925, the design was inspired by the frame of a bicycle.
Totally Tubular Chairs
Totally Tubular Chairs
Does "Breuer chair" sound familiar? If have you watched Rodney Dangerfield do the Triple Lindy in Back to School as many times as I have, you've also heard this:
"Please don't throw your clothes on the Breuer chair"
"How come all of our furniture has names?"
"You have no class Thornton."
Seriously, if you're having a rough day, click on that Triple Lindy link. It has the power to completely turn things around.
O.K., back to Bauhaus! Breuer was also an architect, and like most of his European colleagues, he had to flee Europe during World War II. He landed at Harvard along with his Bauhaus mentor, Walter Gropius, and went on to become one of the Harvard 5, a group of Bauhaus architects who landed in New Canaan, Conn. in the 1940s (think of the houses in The Ice Storm). Besides Breuer, this group included Philip Johnson, Eliot Noyes, Landis Gores and John M. Johansen. This house looks like one that this quintet would have admired, and it was made for Wassily chairs.
Many believe that the Wassily chair, designed in 1925, was designed for and thus named after Wassily Kandinsky. However, that's not quite true. Kandinsky admired the prototype so much that Breuer made him his own chair, and after hearing this story years later, a manufacturer named it "The Wassily Chair."
Here's another look at the same room; the curves of the Wassily chairs work very well with the circles and spheres in the room.
The tubular lines of the chair play off the metal lines on these large windows, making Wassilies a wonderful choice to place in front of them.
Here's the same open floor plan facing the kitchen. Note the way the glass coffee table reflects the trees and sky.
Similarly, a caramel and black pairing keeps things from looking too monochromatic in this spare and open room.
The Wassily fits right into this collected room that has touches of tribal, acrylic, mid-century modern and contemporary pieces.
Breuer's Adler bicycle inspired the design of the Wassily chair, making this print of a vintage advertisement a fun addition to your mid-century decor.
Ideabook published on Aug. 3, 2011.
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