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Barcelona Chair
Iconic Designs

Barcelona Chair

About the Design

For the German Pavilion at the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona, German-American architect and furniture maker Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886–1969) — in collaboration with his romantic partner, designer Lilly Reich (1885–1947) — created a chair fit for royalty. The Spanish king, Alfonso XIII, was expected to attend the opening of the World’s Fair, and as Mies later stated, the chair needed to be “monumental . . . you just couldn’t use a kitchen chair.” In its X-shaped structure, the Barcelona chair recalls the ancient folding stools of Egypt and Rome and was designed with swooping lines and a luxe contrast of materials between the chrome-plated frame and quilted leather cushions. Like the pavilion surrounding it, the chair distilled Mies’s “less is more” aphorism.

By all accounts, King Alfonso XIII never got around to sitting on this modern throne. The pavilion, too, stood for only seven months before it was demolished. Nevertheless, the Barcelona chair was regarded as a masterwork of modernism, influencing countless buildings that followed with its minimalist aesthetic of marble, glass and steel, which gracefully flowed together from the exterior to the interior spaces. Out of all the pavilion’s components, the Barcelona chair had the most longevity as a stand-alone piece.

Shortly after the close of the pavilion, the Barcelona chair went into production, first handcrafted by the Berliner Metallgewerbe studio. It became popular in private residences, debuting in America in 1930 in the New York apartment of architect Philip Johnson, who had met Mies during his work on the German Pavilion in Spain. Fleeing the Nazis’ rise to power in Germany, Mies, too, soon moved to the United States. He relocated to Chicago, where he became the director of the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1938. It was there that he met designer Florence Knoll, who would help bring the Barcelona chair into mass production.

The earliest models of the Barcelona chair from Knoll were released in 1947. The design company and furniture manufacturer made slight updates to the chair over the years in response to new technology, including in 1964 changing the frame to stainless steel. Prevalent in office lobbies and architects’ homes, the Barcelona chair has seen numerous imitators, so in 2004 Knoll finally received a federal trade dress protection for it and four other pieces by Mies. Knoll continues to produce the chair, and although the 21st-century version differs slightly from the 1929 original, it still embodies Mies and Reich's vision of design elegance in its balance of function and form.

Barcelona Chair

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Mies van der Rohe, Fauteuil Barcelona et Son Ottoman, 2020
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Saint ouen, FR
Mies van der Rohe Barcelona armchair and ottoman, 2020 Knoll signed edition Camel leather / stainless steel Measures: Height: 76 cm Width: 74 cm Depth: 70 cm Perfect new c...
Category

2010s Italian Modern Armchairs

Materials

Metal

Pair of Mid-Century Barcelona Lounge Chairs by Mies van der Rohe
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in San Antonio, TX
Pair of iconic Barcelona lounge chairs designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for Knoll International. These vintage lounge chairs feature high-quality leather in tan that is nicely wo...
Category

20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Chrome

L. Mies van der Rohe, 3 Barcelona Chair, 1962 Edition by Knoll International
By Knoll, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Munster, NRW
Very rare set - 3 identical Barcelona chairs by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe from 1962 for Knoll International. Chrome-plated steel frame with cognac-colored leather. The chairs are ...
Category

Vintage 1960s German Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Steel, Chrome

Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe Barcelona Lounge Chairs, Knoll Int, USA
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Stamford, CT
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (German-American, 1886-1969) pair of Barcelona lounge chairs, Knoll International, USA Steel, leather H 29 1/2 x W 29 1/4 x D 29 3/4 inches. Labeled. Need t...
Category

Late 20th Century Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Steel

Knoll Barcelona Chestnut Lounge Chair & Ottoman Set of 3 Mies van der Rohe 1960s
By Knoll, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Knoll Barcelona chestnut lounge chair & ottoman set of 3 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lily Reich, 1960s Barcelona chairs, pair, and ottoman, Knoll Associates, 1929 / circa 1964 stain...
Category

Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Pair of Knoll Barcelona Lounge Chairs in White Sabrina Leather Circa 2000s
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Ft Lauderdale, FL
Pair of Knoll Barcelona lounge chairs in white Sabrina leather circa 2000s. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe 1929 excellent condition One of the most recognized objects of the last centur...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Steel

Vintage Barcelona Chair & Footstool by Knoll International, Early 1970s
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Berlin, Berlin
Lounge chair and footstool designed by Mies van der Rohe. U.S.A., Knoll International, Early 1970s. Original super vintage and patinated 'BARCELONA CHAIR' in brown leather. Chrome...
Category

Vintage 1970s American Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Leather

Mid Century Pair Barcellona Armchairs by Mies van der Rohe
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Firenze, IT
Pair of Barcellona 1970's armchairs with steel structure and leather cushions. Designed by Mies van der Rohe, Italy, 1970. Newly leather covered.
Category

Vintage 1970s Italian Mid-Century Modern Armchairs

Materials

Steel

1960s Mies van der Rohe Bacelona Stainless Steel and Leather Chair for Knoll
By Knoll, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Chesterfield, NJ
Classic and iconic Barcelona chair that was originally designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1929. This elegant chair has a gracefully curved frame and is made of the more expensive poli...
Category

Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Mies van der Rohe Mid-Century Modern Split Frame Barcelona Chair
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in New York, NY
Mies van der Rohe Mid-Century Modern Barcelona chair, with rare chromed split frame and black leather upholstery. Measures: 29.25" H x 30" W x 30" D.
Category

Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Chrome

Pair of 1950s Mies van der Rohe Chrome and Black Leather Barcelona Chairs
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in London, GB
Pair of 1950s Ludwig Mies van der Rohe ‘Barcelona’ chairs for Knoll international in original black leather quilted upholstery. Steel frame, chrome-plated, black, quilted leather up...
Category

20th Century German Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Steel, Chrome

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Barcelona Chair, 1962 by Knoll International Leather
By Knoll, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Munster, NRW
Beautiful, original Barcelona chair by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for Knoll International. Fully chromed steel with leather cushions in cognac. The frame has the early "western K" ...
Category

Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Steel, Chrome

Original Barcelona Chair Design by Mies van der Rohe
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Berlin, DE
The armchair is from the 1960s-1970s. The leather is not in a good state. Barcelona chair "steel frame, chrome-plated, black, quilted leather upholstery, the condition of both armch...
Category

20th Century German Modern Chairs

Materials

Leather

Pair of Barcelona Chairs with Single Ottoman by Mies Van Der Rohe for Knoll
By Knoll, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Boston, MA
Designed in 1929, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona chair remains an icon of modernist chair design. This pair of chairs and single ottoman, later Knoll productions, feature hand-...
Category

20th Century American Bauhaus Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Eggplant Leather Barcelona Chair and Ottoman by Mies Van Der Rohe for Knoll
By Knoll, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Boston, MA
Designed in 1929, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona chair remains an icon of modernist chair design. This chair and ottoman, later Knoll productions, feature hand-polished premium...
Category

20th Century American Bauhaus Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Barcelona Chair and Ottoman, Ludwig Mies van del Rohe, 1960s
By Knoll, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Tokyo, JP
Vintage Barcelona chair and ottoman for Knoll, 1960s. Recently upholstered with the green genuine leather. Dimensions: chair W 75, D 82, H 73, SH46 cm, ottoman W 60, D 61, H 40 cm.
Category

Vintage 1960s American Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Museum Quality Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Barcelona Chairs with Table
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Dallas, TX
Someone heavily involved in the Mies catalogue raisonne project has personally confirmed that these chairs are in fact authentic Barcelona chairs manufactured by the German Company, ...
Category

Mid-20th Century German Bauhaus Lounge Chairs

Materials

Steel

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Pair of Barcelona Chairs and Ottomans for Knoll
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Knoll
Located in Houston, TX
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for Knoll pair of Barcelona chairs and ottomans Custom ordered red leather Labelled and dated 'Knoll Group' Set custom ordered with all original materials...
Category

1990s North American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Barcelona Chair
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Pompano Beach, FL
Barcelona chair with signature, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rode. Stainless steel and leather. Rohe signed this chair in 1961.
Category

Vintage 1960s American Lounge Chairs

Materials

Leather

Knoll Barcelona Chair by Mies van der Rohe
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Amsterdam, NL
Vintage black leather Knoll International Barcelona chair. Designed by Ludwig Mies vd Rohe in 1928. Good used condition with signs of wear. 1 avaible.
Category

Early 20th Century German Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Metal