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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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Pair of Knoll Cognac Leather Mies van der Rohe Split Frame Barcelona Chairs
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Dronten, NL
Exceptional split frame pair of Barcelona chairs by Mies Van der Rohe for Knoll International in the most desirable cognac leather. Marked with Knoll logo on the inside of the cushi...
Category

Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Knoll International Barcelona Chair by Mies Van Der Rohe, Signed & Dated 1986
By Lilly Reich, Knoll, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Being one of the most copied designs (and a timeless Classic), we never purchase unsigned Barcelona chairs and we suggest you be hesitant when considering an unsigned example, so of ...
Category

Vintage 1980s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Barcelona Chairs & Stools by Knoll Studio Mies van der Rohe, USA, circa 2014
By Florence Knoll, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Longdon, Tewkesbury
Barcelona chairs and stools by Knoll Studio Mies van der Rohe USA, circa 2014 Magnificent set of original Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chairs and Barcelona stools by Knoll Studio U...
Category

2010s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Leather

Mies Van Der Rohr Knoll Stainless Steel Barcelona Chairs and Ottoman
By Knoll, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Philadelphia, PA
Mies Van der Rohr Barcelona chairs and ottoman for Knoll, 1960s set, 2 chairs and 1 ottoman. These are stainless steel models, not the cheaper chrome versions that are currently offe...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Bauhaus Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Barcelona Chairs
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Pair of Barcelona chairs by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, stainless steel and leather. Impressed signature and manufacturer's mark to foot of each example 'KnollStudio Ludwig Mies van d...
Category

Mid-20th Century German Mid-Century Modern 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

Chrome, Steel

Armchair Barcelona by Mies Van Der Rohe, circa 2020
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Saint ouen, FR
Mies van den Rohe Barcelona armchair Knoll edition, circa 2020 White leather/ stainless steel Signed / engraved In perfect condition.       
Category

21st Century and Contemporary European Bauhaus Armchairs

Materials

Leather

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 Meis Barcelona Chairs by Knoll
By Knoll, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in New York, NY
Impressive pair of Knoll (Park Ave.) Barcelona chairs in wonderful baseball glove worn brown leather. Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the Barcelona chair practically singularly...
Category

Mid-20th Century American International Style Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Pair of Barcelona Chairs with Single Ottoman by Mies Van Der Rohe for Knoll
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Knoll
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

Pair of Knoll Barcelona Chairs Tan Leather 1960s Mies van der Rohe
By Knoll, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Buffalo, NY
Stunning pair of Barcelona chairs manufactured by Knoll, 1960s designed by Mies van der Rohe, Classic design, original hand-sewn tan leather seat and back cushions, wonderful patina,...
Category

Vintage 1960s American Bauhaus Lounge Chairs

Materials

Chrome

Midcentury Barcelona Chair in Special Order Stainless Steel and Leather
By Knoll, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in BROOKLYN, NY
Midcentury Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chair for Knoll. The Classic chair that helped define midcentury modernism. This is the highly desirable version produced in non magneti...
Category

Mid-20th Century German Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Mies van der Rohe Barcelona Chairs from the IBM Building
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Highland, IN
Here are some extraordinarily rare chairs with fantastic provenance, these Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chairs were custom fabricated of fiberglass and steel. You would not know that ...
Category

20th Century American International Style Lounge Chairs

Materials

Steel

Rare Barcelona Chairs by Gerald R. Griffith for Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1970
By Gerald R. Griffith, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Costa Mesa, CA
Rare Barcelona chairs by Gerald R. Griffith for Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1970. Signed by Gerald Griffith for Mies van der Rohe, 1970. Produced for a short period of time by this Chi...
Category

Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Steel

Pair of Vintage Brass Barcelona Chairs designed by Mies van der Rohe for Knoll
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Pasadena, TX
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Mies van der Rohe began his career in architecture in Berlin, working as an architect first in the studio of Bruno Paul and then, like Le Corbusier and Walt...
Category

Mid-20th Century North American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Brass

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

Pair of "Barcelona" Chair by Mies van der Rohe in Smoked Platinum Velvet
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in New York, NY
One of the most iconic pieces of the 20th century, this pair of Barcelona chairs encapsulates Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's famous maxim "less is more." Van der Rohe originally designed...
Category

Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Pair of Knoll Barcelona Stainless Steel Lounge Chairs by Mies Van Der Rohe
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Pasadena, TX
Mies van der Rohe began his career in architecture in Berlin, working as an architect first in the studio of Bruno Paul and then, like Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius, Peter Behrens....
Category

Vintage 1980s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Very Rare Pair of 1947-1954 Production Mies van der Rohe ''Barcelona'' Chairs
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in bergen op zoom, NL
A pair of pre-Knoll production Barcelona chairs These 'screwed' Barcelona chairs where made before Knoll put this chair in production in 1954 Provenance: From a Dutch collectio...
Category

Vintage 1950s German Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Chrome, Steel

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

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

Vintage 1950s German Bauhaus Chairs

Materials

Glass, Leather