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Max Bill

Swiss, 1908-1994

Max Bill was born in Winterthur, Switzerland. After an apprenticeship as a silversmith during 1924–27, he took up studies at the Bauhaus in Dessau under many teachers including Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Oskar Schlemmer from 1927 to 1929, after which he moved to Zurich.

After working on graphic designs for the few modern buildings being constructed, Bill built his first work, his own house and studio (1932–3) in Zurich-Höngg. From 1937 onward he was a prime mover behind the Allianz group of Swiss artists.

Bill is widely considered the single most decisive influence on Swiss graphic design beginning in the 1950s with his theoretical writing and progressive work. His connection to the days of modernism gave him special authority. As an industrial designer, his work is characterized by a clarity of design and precise proportions. Examples are the elegant clocks and watches designed for Junghans, a long-term client. Among Bill's most notable product designs is the Ulmer Hocker of 1954, a stool that can also be used as a shelf element, a speaker's desk, a tablet or a side table. Although the stool was a creation of both Bill's and Ulm School designer Hans Gugelot's, it is often called "Bill Hocker" because the first sketch of it on a cocktail napkin was Bill's work.

As a designer and artist, Bill sought to create forms which visually represent the New Physics of the early 20th century. He sought to create objects so that the new science of form could be understood by the senses: that is as a concrete art. Thus Bill is not a rationalist – as is typically thought – but rather a phenomenologist. He made spare geometric paintings, prints and spherical sculptures, some based on the Möbius strip, in stone, wood, metal and plaster. His architectural work included an office building in Germany, a radio studio in Zurich, and a bridge in eastern Switzerland.

Bill continued to produce architectural designs, such as those for a museum of contemporary art (1981) in Florence and for the Bauhaus Archive (1987) in Berlin. In 1982 he also entered a competition for an addition to the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, built to a design by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Pavillon-Skulptur, a large granite sculpture, was installed adjacent to the Bahnhofstrasse, Zürich in 1983. As is often the case with modern art in public places, the installation generated some controversy. Endlose Treppe, a sculpture made of North American granite, was designed for the philosopher Ernst Bloch.

In 1982 he was awarded the Sir Misha Black award and was added to the College of Medallists.

Bill executed many public sculptures in Europe and exhibited extensively in galleries and museums, including a retrospective at the Kunsthaus Zürich in 1968–69. He was the subject of retrospectives at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art in 1974, and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City in 1988.

Find vintage Max Bill stools, lighting, and other furniture on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$1,770
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Iconic Designs from Max Bill
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
Max Bill Atomic Chandelier
Max Bill Atomic Chandelier
Max Bill Tulip Floor Lamp
Max Bill Tulip Floor Lamp
Red and White Midcentury Space Age Wall Lamp by Max Bill for Temde, 1960s
By Temde Leuchten, Max Bill
Located in Hagenbach, DE
A midcentury wall lamp by Temde designed by Max Bill in the 1960s. It is fascinating with its Space Age design and white opaque ball. The red body of the light is made of full metal....
Category

1960s German Mid-Century Modern Vintage Max Bill

Materials

Metal

Max Bill's Ulm Stool / Authentic Mid-Century Swiss Design
By Max Bill
Located in Zürich, CH
Ulm stool was designed by the Swiss architect and artist Max Bill in collaboration with Hans Gugelot in 1954. It is one of the most iconic pieces of mid-cent...
Category

Mid-20th Century Swiss Mid-Century Modern Max Bill

Materials

Spruce

1972 Munich Olympic Games - Max Bill Original Vintage Poster
By Max Bill
Located in Winchester, GB
Swiss artist & graphic designer Max Bill was one of 29 artists commissioned to produce posters for the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. In the run-up to the 1972 Games, the Organising Comm...
Category

1970s German Vintage Max Bill

Materials

Paper

  • 1972 Munich Olympic Games - Max Bill Original Vintage Poster
  • 1972 Munich Olympic Games - Max Bill Original Vintage Poster
  • 1972 Munich Olympic Games - Max Bill Original Vintage Poster
  • 1972 Munich Olympic Games - Max Bill Original Vintage Poster
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H 39.7 in W 25.2 in D 0.1 in
Max Bill white glass globe table lamp
By BAG Turgi, Max Bill
Located in Ferndale, MI
Architect Max Bill designed lamp produced by BAG Turgi Switzerland . White enameled base holds nine frosted white glass round ball globes . Emits nice warm comforting glow when lit .
Category

Mid-20th Century Swiss Mid-Century Modern Max Bill

Materials

Metal

Ultra Rare German 1960s Junghans Max Bill Wall Clock 322/0350 in brass
By Max Bill, Junghans Uhren GmbH
Located in Krefeld, DE
Wall clock design by Max Bill for Junghans in 1960s. Brass metal case. Electric movement is in good working condition. At the back side maybe from the owner or clockmake a repair not...
Category

1960s German Mid-Century Modern Vintage Max Bill

Materials

Brass

Rare Wall Light in White by Max Bill for Temde, Switzerland, 1960s
By Max Bill, Temde Leuchten
Located in Nürnberg, Bayern
The lamps are executed with E14 Edison screw fit bulbs. It is wired, and in working condition. It runs both on 110 / 230 volt. Our lamps are checked, cleaned and are suitable for ...
Category

1960s Swiss Space Age Vintage Max Bill

Materials

Metal

Rare Wall Light in Gold by Max Bill for Temde, Switzerland, 1960s
By Max Bill, Temde Leuchten
Located in Nürnberg, Bayern
The lamps are executed with E14 Edison screw fit bulbs. It is wired, and in working condition. It runs both on 110 / 230 volt. Our lamps are checked, cleaned and are suitable for ...
Category

1960s Swiss Space Age Vintage Max Bill

Materials

Metal

Max Bill Wall Clock, Pastel Blue, Mid-Century Modern, Junghans Germany, 1950s
By Max Bill, Junghans Uhren GmbH
Located in Vienna, AT
An iconic modernist design wall clock and timer, original and old from the 1950s, designed by Max Bill, executed by Junghans Germany. A beautiful and adorable wall clock with a light...
Category

Mid-20th Century German Mid-Century Modern Max Bill

Materials

Chrome, Metal

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Creators Similar to Max Bill

More Max Bill Designs
Max Bill Atomic Chandelier
Max Bill Atomic Chandelier
Average Price
$1,495
Number Available
2
Max Bill Atomic Chandelier
By Max Bill
Materials
Glass, Blown Glass, Metal, Opaline Glass, Plastic
Styles
Mid Century Modern
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Max Bill Tulip Floor Lamp
Max Bill Tulip Floor Lamp
Average Price
$1,790
Number Available
1
Max Bill Tulip Floor Lamp
By Max Bill
Materials
Aluminum, Glass, Metal
Styles
Mid Century Modern
There's a good reason that the revered Tulip floor lamp by Max Bill (1908–94) looks at once sculptural, painterly and graphic: The Swiss artist behind the elegant fixture was something of a multi-hyphenate talent. Bill was a major proponent of modernist design in Europe and a sculptor whose work has been the subject of exhibitions at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the Guggenheim. He also worked as an architect, painter, typeface designer and writer. Product design was just one of ma...
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Max Bill furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Max Bill furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of metal and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Max Bill furniture, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. We have 28 vintage editions of these items in-stock, while there is 2 modern edition to choose from as well. Many of the original furniture by Max Bill were created in the mid-century modern style in europe during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by BAG Turgi, Rosemarie & Rico Baltensweiler, and Trix and Robert Haussmann. Prices for Max Bill furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $452 and can go as high as $7,050, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $1,850.
Questions About Max Bill
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    Max Bill created many types of items during his career. The Swiss artist worked as a graphic designer creating many compositions indicative of the modern style of the time. In addition, he was an industrial designer who made a variety of decorative objects and furnishings. He is best known for the clocks produced for Junghans, the Ulmer Hocker stool, the Atomic chandelier and the Tulip floor lamp. On 1stDibs, shop a variety of Max Bill art, furniture and decorative objects.

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