Thursday, 28 March 2013


This is one terrific chair, I've just bought it off eBay, and it arrived today. It was a bargain, and it has the olive green leather rather than black, and it's Knoll to original 1929 specification. I love it. I really love this chair. Why?
Well contrary to the excellent Karl Arnold cartoon showing an appropriate Bauhaus era scene; Zoroastrian chanting (Lords of Art and all that) on spindly functionalist chairs, this chair is big. It is sumptuous enough to demand a better word than big, more like, lugubrious, but it is not too big, it is big enough. Knowing that Mies was the size of two men helps you understand. And it's solid, really solid, the steel tubes are nice and thick, so that when you sit on it, you feel the slightest of flex in the cantilever, a most satisfying sense of poise. Also, since the steel is in one piece, there is no irritating squeaking. Most Habitat era reproductions of this type of furniture feature joints with allen key connections that squeak.
Meanwhile the section shows that the solid seat and back are tipped back just a little from the right angle, giving a sense of calm repose, so contrary to that image of uncomfortable squirming we read in to the cartoon; this chair fills you with a sense of the opposite, and it doesn't tip you into your bratwurst. Designed for the luxurious Tugendhart house of 1930, this chair really gives you the idea of Mies, and it certainly contradicts assumptions about comfort and style; it is a really elegant thing.

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