The Barcelona Chair, an icon of Modernism, has a perfectly balanced form that features a hand-tufted surface with forty individual panels crafted from a single cowhide, and a chrome or stainless steel frame hand-buffed to mirror-like perfection.

barcelona chair, dream interiors, ludwig mies van de rohe, chair, sofa
Image: Dream Interiors

Why we love it

The Barcelona Chair was originally created for the King and Queen of Spain in the German Pavilion of the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition, and has since become one of the most recognised objects in the design world due to its simple, understated design and excellent craftsmanship. Its effortless elegance makes it suitable for spaces ranging from lobbies and lounges to living rooms.

Who designed it

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the man behind the Barcelona Chair is a German-American architect widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of Modernist architecture. Apart from his furniture creations, which embody his maxim of “less is more”, he designed a myriad of homes and public structures such as the Seagram Building in New York City. The Barcelona Chair was a product of his collaboration with German designer Lilly Reich, who was the first woman director of the Deutscher Werkbund (German Work Federation). She started her career as a textile and fashion designer, and later moved on to design exhibitions and furniture. She also taught at the Bauhaus School in the 1930s.

What it inspired

To complement the Barcelona Chair, Mies van der Rohe designed the Barcelona Stool for the pavilion. He further expanded the collection with a glass-top coffee table and a daybed with an exotic sapele mahogany platform. His protege, Florence Knoll, was inspired to create her own collection of living furniture. Introduced in 1954, the squarish profiles of this range reflect the rational approach she learnt from her mentor. The line includes the Florence Knoll lounge chair and sofa, which come in a fiery red – offering a refreshing take on Mid-century Modern style.

The Barcelona Chair is available at Dream Interiors.