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B A R B I C A N L I F E ADVERTORIAL


Knoll celebrates its 75th Anniversary - Mies van der Rohe


M


ies van der Rohe was the son of a stone mason from Aachen in Germany's Rhineland who become one of the most significant and


influential architects of the 20th century. Amongst his prolific output were works that defined the direction of Modernism including The Barcelona Pavillion, The Tugendhat House, The Farnsworth House, The Lake Shore Drive Apartments and The Seagram Building. Each work was so radical that architecture was never the same afterwards. Yet his purpose was never to shock but rather to reduce and refine down to the essential, pure elements of form and materiality. In this search for truth he said “I don't want to be interesting. I want to be good”. After establishing his own practice in


Germany in the early 1920’s he completed numerous private houses as well as taking part in the Weissenhoff building exhibition in Stuttgart. This included interior work on the “Velvet & Silk Cafe” on which he was aided by Lily Reich who assisted with the design of his furniture. This project helped confirm his reputation within the architectural establishment and led to him being appointed to design the German Pavilion at the 1929 World Fair held in Barcelona. The Barcelona Chair, footstool and table


were the designed for the pavilion and a pair of them were to be used in the ceremonial reception by the king and queen of Spain. Subsequently the Barcelona series was and produced in Germany until halted by the war.


As Director of the Bauhaus from 1930 to 1933 Mies resolved its internal troubles only to have to move it from Dessau to Berlin and finally to close it as an act of defiance against Nazi oppression. In 1938 Mies emigrated to the USA, settling


in Chicago and came to know Florence Knoll when she was his pupil at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Helped by this friendship Knoll reached an agreement with Mies to produce his designs in 1946 and they have been in continuous production since shortly afterwards. “A chair is a difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier” Mies was to say later, in 1957. Nonetheless the Barcelona chair has come to epitomise his maxim that “Less is More” and is a 3 dimensional manifesto for Modernism. It's apparent simplicity belies obsessive focus


on the resolution of every single design choice, form the 40 individually hand sewn and piped leather rectangles that together form the seat & back pads, to the 9 invisibly welded stainless steel flat bar sections that make up the frame. Each of the leather straps that support the cushions are meticulously screwed into the edges of the transverse bars. Mies applied the same microscopic level of scrutiny to his furniture as to his architecture as to him “God is in the details”. Knoll International celebrates its 75th


Anniversary this year and its showroom is easily accessible to Barbican residents in just 7 minutes walk from Barbican Tube at 91 Goswell Road, open 9-5.30 Mon-Fri, late nights and weekends by appointment (0207 236 6655). Sign up for our Newsletter at uk@knolleurope.com


“I’m yours.”


An alluring classic. Tulip Side Chair by Eero Saarinen.


Designed exc lusively for Knoll in 1957.


Fall in love at


91 Goswell Road London EC1V 7EX 7 minutes from Barbican +44 (0)207 236 6655 @Knoll_UK


We are open Mon—Fri 9am—5.30pm


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