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Barcelona Chair
Iconic Designs

Barcelona Chair

About the Design

For the German Pavilion at the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona, German-American architect and furniture maker Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886–1969) — in collaboration with his romantic partner, designer Lilly Reich (1885–1947) — created a chair fit for royalty.

The Spanish king, Alfonso XIII, was expected to attend the opening of the World’s Fair, and as Mies later stated, the chair needed to be “monumental . . . you just couldn’t use a kitchen chair.” In its X-shaped structure, the Barcelona chair recalls the ancient folding stools of Egypt and Rome and was designed with swooping lines and a luxe contrast of materials between the chrome-plated frame and quilted leather cushions. Like the pavilion surrounding it, the chair distilled Mies’s “less is more” aphorism.

By all accounts, King Alfonso XIII never got around to sitting on this modern throne. The pavilion, too, stood for only seven months before it was demolished. Nevertheless, the Barcelona chair was regarded as a masterwork of modernism, influencing countless buildings that followed with its minimalist aesthetic of marble, glass and steel, which gracefully flowed together from the exterior to the interior spaces. Out of all the pavilion’s components, the Barcelona chair had the most longevity as a stand-alone piece.

Shortly after the close of the pavilion, the Barcelona chair went into production, first handcrafted by the Berliner Metallgewerbe studio. It became popular in private residences, debuting in America in 1930 in the New York apartment of architect Philip Johnson, who had met Mies during his work on the German Pavilion in Spain.

Fleeing the Nazis’ rise to power in Germany, Mies, too, soon moved to the United States. He relocated to Chicago, where he became the director of the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1938. It was there that he met designer Florence Knoll, who would help bring the Barcelona chair into mass production.

The earliest models of the Barcelona chair from Knoll were released in 1947. The design company and furniture manufacturer made slight updates to the chair over the years in response to new technology, including in 1964 changing the frame to stainless steel. Prevalent in office lobbies and architects’ homes, the Barcelona chair has seen numerous imitators, so in 2004 Knoll finally received a federal trade dress protection for it and four other pieces by Mies.

Knoll continues to produce the chair, and although the 21st-century version differs slightly from the 1929 original, it still embodies Mies and Reich's vision of design elegance in its balance of function and form.

Barcelona Chair

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Pair of MR 90 Barcelona Armchairs by Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe for Knoll Inc / Kn
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Knoll
Located in Saint Rémy de Provence, FR
Paire de Fauteuils MR 90 Barcelona par Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe pour Knoll Inc. / Knoll International, 1950s. The structure is in excellent condition . Il s'agit d'une rare édition ...
Category

Vintage 1950s American Bauhaus Armchairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Barcelona armchair and ottoman, Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, Knoll
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Milano, Lombardia
This iconic set captures the essence of modernist design, combining elegant forms and high-quality materials, an authentic piece of modernist design history that can transform and en...
Category

Vintage 1960s Italian Modern Ottomans and Poufs

Materials

Metal

Modernism Ludwig Mies van der Rohe White Leather Barcelona Lounge Chair, Gordon
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Secaucus, NJ
Fabulous Barcelona lounge chair in white leather, featuring triple chrome plated, barstock steel frame (No visible joints) The classic Barcelona chair was exclusively designed by Mie...
Category

2010s American Bauhaus Lounge Chairs

Materials

Steel, Chrome

Poltrona Barcelona modello Relax, Knoll, Mies Van Der Rohe
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Minerbio, BO
CONTATTARE PER CONOSCERE LE REALI SPESE DI SPEDIZIONE. Poltrona Originale Knoll in perfette condizioni, pelle pari al nuovo, priva di segni di alcun tipo, la poltrona è stata utiliz...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Armchairs

Materials

Leather

Mid Century White Barcelona Chairs by Mies van der Rohe for Knoll
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Knoll
Located in Detroit, MI
This pair of vintage mid century modern white Barcelona chairs designed by Mies van der Rohe were manufactured by Knoll International, Inc. circa...
Category

Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Steel, Chrome

Knoll Barcelona Lounge Chairs by Mies van der Rohe, Black Leather
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Chicago, IL
Knoll Barcelona Chairs, set of 2. Designed by Mies van der Rohe, originally in 1929. Black leather. Knoll manufacturer tags are dated 1987 on bottom of seat cushions. One of the ...
Category

Vintage 1980s Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe Red Barcelona Lounge Chair for Knoll, 1972, Set of 2
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Knoll
Located in Vicenza, IT
Set of 2 Barcelona lounge chair, designed by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe in 1929 and manufactured by Knoll International in 1972. Made of chromed steel and leather. Excellent vintage co...
Category

Vintage 1970s Italian Bauhaus Daybeds

Materials

Chrome

Early Barcelona Chair by Mies Van Der Rohe
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Brussels, BE
Early and rare "Barcelona" chair and ottoman designed by Mies van der rohe and manufactured by the German company Waldemar Stiegler, which produced flat steel furniture for Knoll Int...
Category

Vintage 1950s German Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Chrome

Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe Bauhaus Red Barcelona Lounge Chair for Knoll, 1972
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Knoll
Located in Vicenza, IT
Barcelona lounge chair, designed by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe in 1929 and manufactured by Knoll International in 1972. Made of chromed steel and leather. Excellent vintage condition. ...
Category

Vintage 1970s Italian Bauhaus Daybeds

Materials

Chrome

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe 'Barcelona' chair for Knoll made in USA 1965
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Paris, FR
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe 'Barcelona' chair for Knoll made in USA 1965Chrome steel base , detachable cushions with bone white leather upholstery. This pais Is an original Mies Van der...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Armchairs

Materials

Steel

Black Leather Mies van der Rohe for Knoll Barcelona Chairs, Matching Set of Two
By Knoll, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Dronten, NL
Pair of Barcelona chairs by Mies Van der Rohe for Knoll International in black leather. Engraved with signature in the frame and marked with Knoll logo at the bottom of the cushions....
Category

Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Steel, Chrome

Early Pair MCM Knoll Barcelona Chairs Black Leather Mies van der Rohe 1961
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Portland, OR
A collectors pair of Early Knoll Associates production Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chairs, 1961. Knoll had the license to manufacture the Barcelona chair from 1953, this pair were pu...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Bauhaus Lounge Chairs

Materials

Steel

Barcelona Chair by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for Knoll (Like NEW condition)
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Centreville, VA
As a rising figure of the modernist movement, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was selected to design the German Pavilion for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona. Through masterf...
Category

Vintage 1920s American Bauhaus Lounge Chairs

Materials

Chrome

Museum Quality Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Barcelona Chairs with Table
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Dallas, TX
Someone heavily involved in the Mies catalogue raisonne project has personally confirmed that these chairs are in fact authentic Barcelona chairs manufactured by the German Company, ...
Category

Mid-20th Century German Bauhaus Lounge Chairs

Materials

Steel

Pair of Vintage Caramel Barcelona Chairs by Mies van der Rohe Knoll, 1970s
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Knoll
Located in Danville, CA
These Barcelona chairs were designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1929 and produced by Knoll International in the 1970s. The chairs feature an incredible hand dyed cognac leather uphol...
Category

Vintage 1970s German Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Vintage Gerald R. Griffith Barcelona Chairs and Ottomans, Set of 4
By Gerald R. Griffith, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in SAINT LOUIS, MO
A collector's pair. This stunning pair of Barcelona chairs with ottomans were made by Gerald R. Griffith under the close supervision of Mies van der Rohe. The Griffith chairs have ex...
Category

Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Mies van der Rohe for Knoll Barcelona Chairs circa 1979 Pair Available
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Knoll
Located in Atlanta, GA
Iconic Barcelona Lounge Chairs, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for Knoll, American, circa 1979. Signed with Knoll labels underneath. The leather retains it's warm original pati...
Category

Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Metal

Knoll Barcelona Chairs by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Leather, Stainless Steel
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Knoll
Located in Kansas City, MO
Four available. Price is for each. Beautiful set of Barcelona Chairs designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and produced by Knoll. Each example i...
Category

Early 2000s American Bauhaus Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Pair of Knoll Black Leather & Stainless Steel Barcelona Chairs, Signed
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Knoll
Located in Kansas City, MO
Pair / Two black leather and stainless steel Barcelona Chairs designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and produced by Knoll. Each example is signed with the Knoll Studio markings. Very few signs of use...
Category

Early 2000s American Bauhaus Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Pair Barcelona Chairs, Black Leather and Stainless Steel, Mies for Knoll, Signed
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Knoll
Located in Kansas City, MO
All original timeless classic pair of black leather and hand polished stainless steel Barcelona chairs. Designed by Mies van de Rohe in 1929, this pair was produced in the 1970s. Ver...
Category

Vintage 1970s American Bauhaus Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Pair of Burgundy Leather Barcelona Chairs by Mies Van Der Rohe for Knoll, 1990s
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Brussels, BE
Pair of Burgundy Leather Barcelona chairs by Mies Van Der Rohe for Knoll, 1990s
Category

1990s Mid-Century Modern Armchairs

Materials

Leather

Vintage Barcelona Lounge Chairs Set with Ottoman by Knoll
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Vintage Barcelona lounge chairs set with ottoman designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. 1950s Knoll production. Tufted black leather cushions ov...
Category

Vintage 1950s Bauhaus Lounge Chairs

Materials

Chrome

Pair of Black Leather Barcelona Chairs by Mies Van Der Rohe for Knoll, 1960s
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Brussels, BE
Pair of Black Leather Barcelona chairs by Mies Van Der Rohe for Knoll, 1960s.
Category

Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Armchairs

Materials

Leather

Barcelona Chair by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Elephant Hide Grey Leather
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Knoll
Located in Danville, CA
Rare set of four, early Barcelona chairs in elephant hide grey leather. Some patina and visible signs of age accentuate the domestically produced...
Category

Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Set of 4 Vintage Knoll Mies Van Der Rhoe Barcelona Chairs
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Knoll
Located in Pasadena, TX
Set of 4 Knoll Mies Van der Rhoe Barcelona Chairs. Iconic Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Barcelona lounge chair for Knoll Internationa...
Category

Vintage 1970s North American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Chrome

Eggplant Leather Barcelona Chair and Ottoman by Mies Van Der Rohe for Knoll
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Knoll
Located in Dorchester, MA
Designed in 1929, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona chair remains an icon of modernist chair design. This chair and ottoman, later Knoll productions, feature hand-polished premium...
Category

20th Century American Bauhaus Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Pair of Early Barcelona Chair by Mies Van Der Rohe by Stiegler 1950s
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Aachen, NW
These rare Barcelona chairs were designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1929 for the famous Barcelona pavillon and produced by Stiegler in the 1950s. Stiegler was a small company who c...
Category

Vintage 1950s German Bauhaus Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Mies van der Rohe, Fauteuil Barcelona et Son Ottoman, 2020
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Saint ouen, FR
Mies van der Rohe Barcelona armchair and ottoman, 2020 Knoll signed edition Camel leather / stainless steel Measures: Height: 76 cm Width: 74 cm Depth: 70 cm Perfect new c...
Category

2010s Italian Modern Armchairs

Materials

Metal

Knoll Barcelona Lounge Chairs by Mies van der Rohe, Ivory Leather
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Chicago, IL
Knoll Barcelona Chairs, set of 2. Designed by Mies van der Rohe, originally in 1929. Volo "Ivory" leather This set is Knoll's latest production. Manufacturer's stamp/ signature o...
Category

2010s Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Vintage Olive Green Barcelona Chair by Mies van der Rohe Knoll 1970s
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Knoll
Located in Aachen, NW
This rare Barcelona chair was designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1929 and produced by Knoll International in the 1970s. The piece features an amazing hand dyed olive green leather up...
Category

Vintage 1970s German Bauhaus Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Ultra Rare 30th Knoll Anniversary Limited Edition Barcelona Chair No 45 & No 81
By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Located in Aachen, NW
These very rare Barcelona chairs were designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1929 and produced by Knoll in 1981 for the 30th anniversary of Knoll International. With this backround, Kn...
Category

Vintage 1980s German Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

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