The chair was originally created and especially produced to feature in the
German Pavillion building, Germany's offering for the 1929 Ibero-American
Exposition, which took place in Barcelona. This contemporary modern icon
was a joint work of creation between the esteemed Bauhaus architect, Mies
van der Rohe and the interior designer, Lilly Reich, his companion.
Creative input for the chair was drawn from the folding chairs of old, in
particular the Pharaohs and the X-shaped chairs of the Romans. Creating
from these regal examples, gave this design a weight of integrity which was
highly regarded by the cream of academia and wealth who witnessed its
The Chair, gained a reputation as a chair fit for royalty
It was an exception to the modernistic ethos of the times: That designer
furniture should be suitable for the general consumer market. This
exception continues. The materials and build processes are involved and
time consuming, for this reason, good quality examples continue to be
The resultant effect is that this exquisite chair has remained exclusive. Royal
influences have endowed it with a reserve that has increased instead of
diminishing over time. It retains the ability to enoble itself to a discerning
market, predominantly the tasteful and appreciative rather than the average
The Making Of A Barcelona Chair
Production of the early chairs pre-dated the use of stainless steel and
welds without seams, causing the legs to be bolted together. At first,
pig skin was utilized instead of bovine leather to create ivory coloured
chairs for the Pavilion.
The Barcelona was subject to a redesign in 1950, as stainless steel was
used in the manufacturing process to make the frame out of one
piece of metal. The bolts therefore became redundant and enabled
the sleek lines which are cherished now as much as back then.
Luxurious full grain aniline leather is now used instead of pig skin and
they retain an admiration for the real thing in accordance with the
fundamental dictates of design, materials and production processes.