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Pair of 1950s Mies van der Rohe Chrome and Black Leather Barcelona Chairs

$12,644.53per item


Pair of 1950s Ludwig Mies van der Rohe ‘Barcelona’ chairs for Knoll international in original black leather quilted upholstery. Steel frame, chrome-plated, black, quilted leather upholstery. The condition of both armchairs is used. No signature found, but this was common in the 1960s. Mies van der Rohe was a German-America architect regarded as the pioneer of Modernism architecture. The original design was for the German Pavilion International Exposition of 1929. This chair is one of the iconic designs of the 20th century. The Barcelona chairs have had the leather re-polished and buffed and the chrome re-polished. The photos were taken before this was carried out. The original straps to hold the cushions in place are torn, but they are not really necessary because the cushions sit in the frame without needing to be fastened in place. The seating is very stable, and cosmetically it doesn’t show. The fixing straps don’t really do anything because the seat and backrest are solid I tried to keep the chairs as authentic as possible and didn't want to change them by replacing the fasteners. The photos below show that a 3 fixing straps are missing The metal work is excellent no rust And leather is in great condition Purchased from a prestigious dealer in Finland Design: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe 1929.


  • Creator
  • Design
    Barcelona ChairBarcelona Series
  • Dimensions
    Height: 32.29 in. (82 cm)Width: 30.32 in. (77 cm)Depth: 28.35 in. (72 cm)Seat Height: 17.33 in. (44 cm)
  • Style
    Mid-Century Modern (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
  • Condition
    Refinished. Wear consistent with age and use. Minor losses. Minor fading. Since the photos were taken the chairs have been in the workshop and have been re-polished. Leather ties are missing but overall they are in good condition & extremely comfortable to sit on.
  • Seller Location
    London, GB
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU2660320362592

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Rates vary by destination and complexity. We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.
    Customs Duties & Taxes May Apply.
    Ships From: London, United Kingdom
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 14 days of delivery.

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About the Design

Barcelona Chair

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.
About the Seller
5 / 5
Located in London, United Kingdom
Platinum Seller
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Established in 2013
1stDibs seller since 2017
129 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: <1 hour
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