Published at Monday, 08 October 2018. Interior Furniture. By Colin Geiger.
By 1925, Gropius had designed a new campus for the Bauhaus School, and legend has it that 23 years old teacher Marcel Breuer had the assignment of designing furnishings for the teacher's residences. As a designer, he sought, to integrate the geometry and simplicity of the Bauhaus philosophy with a strong desire for human comfort. The resulting chair for the home of faculty member Wassily Kandinsky, an Abstract Expressionism painter, was made from tubular steel. This was the first time the material had been used for general interior furniture, but its light weight, affordability, and strength made it an ideal choice. Although the chair is void of any decoration, the tubular steel frame gives a very complicated and boxy effect. The original version had back and seat slings of canvas that kept the body from contact with the nickel plated frame. By 1930, however, it was produced with chrome plating, which did not tarnish, and leather was option for the slings.
How did history inspire furniture designs? Back in the early 1400's to the 1700's, furniture styles were influenced by political powers. In fact, it was the dominant countries in Europe that had the biggest effect on the furniture styles of that era. Many of the popular furniture styles were either named after that period, region or monarch of the dominant country.
Chrome plated tubular steel may not sound like the material found in antique furniture. Steel does not have the patina, warmth, or graining of wood normally associated with antiques. However, the benchmark chair of contemporary furniture, the Wassily, which was designed in 1925 by Marcel Breuer of the Bauhaus School, will, in only 15 years, be considered an antique by government standards.
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