The Barcelona Collection is the entire sum of the set of furniture designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for the Barcelona International Exposition of 1929. This collection has a great impact in the world of Interior Design and furniture, due to the revolutionary changes that it brought in a early date like 1929.
The Barcelona Collection was part of the German Pavilion of this International Exposition. This Exposition was characterized by its minimalism. Besides, furniture the pavilion was decorated only with one Sculpture and two ponds. But the impact of the Barcelona Collection was huge and it can be traced till now, due to the huge popularity of each one of its components.
The Barcelona Collection, by that time, was formed by the Barcelona Chair, the Barcelona Sofa, the Barcelona Loveseat, the Barcelona Ottoman, the Barcelona Table, and the Barcelona Bench. The Barcelona Daybed, a modification of the Barcelona Bench, was added in 1930, and it’s one of the most popular elements in the collection right now.
Let’s comment some curious facts about this famous collection
Curious facts about the Barcelona Collection
- The Barcelona Collection was originally credited completely to Ludwig. Mies van der Rohe, but, with time, some biographical researches have remarked that all the furniture creations of this great architect were developed with the assistance and inspiration of the German designer Lilly Reich, who was personally related with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in the last years of the 1920s. Lilly Reich was a specialist in the manufacturing and craftsmanship of different textile materials. Actually, Lilly Reich was in charge of the Artistic Production of the German Pavilion of the Barcelona International Exposition, but officially she has never accredited as the creator of the chairs and benches along with van der Rohe.
- The Barcelona Collection was created in 1929, but its final version was finally released in 1930 with the definitive version of the Barcelona Daybed. The Barcelona Daybed is an extended Barcelona Bench, with a characteristic cushion that brings you a sense of comfort and luxury.
- The first Barcelona chair was upholstered with pigskin, as most of the luxury fabrics of that time, but later versions of the chair and sofa were upholstered with cowhide. Nowadays, the advance in the leather treatment technology allowed the use of Aniline, a variety of several types of leather with a special dye treatment.
- The Barcelona Daybed was spotted several times in different movies and TV series. One of the finest moments occurred in the TV Series “Mad Men“, where Betty, the wife of Don Drapper, goes to the Psychoanalyst. In this TV series, the role of decore of the 1960s is very significant, and Mid Century Modern style furniture is always present.
- On the other hand, the Barcelona Chair doesn’t stay behind. I it has appeared in many movies and TV series, like the blockbuster franchise 007 Casino Royale, or the superhero’s blockbuster Batman vs Superman.
- It’s curious that Ludwig Mies van der Rohe only made furniture designs when he was in collaboration with Lilly Reich in the 1920s. He never made any known design on furniture before that decade, or after of this decade. It’s rumored that the collaboration of Lilly was deeper than the use of textiles, but creativity in the very design of the chair, its shape and form.
- Due to the confusing times of the end of World War II, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich never met again after the German designer established in America. In his last days as Director of the Bauhaus, van der Rohe tried to keep floating the legendary school, but the German nazi government was every time more reluctant to keep open the school, till the point where van der Rohe decided to close it and leave Germany. At the moment van der Rohe leaves Germany, Lilly Reich became a guardian of the works of the Bauhaus and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, till her death in 1960. A great part of the German period of the German Designer was saved thanks to the efforts of Reich.
- The royal and elegant appearance of the Barcelona Chair and the Barcelona Daybed is not a random result. Van der Rohe and Reich went back to the ancient Roman Empire days, and the Egyptian Empire; most specifically in the royal tents that roman general and senators used to relax in the middle of its campaigns. That’s why they have this timeless appearance.
- Besides the German Pavilion, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was responsible several works of the International Exposition of Barcelona, like the Private Company German Electricity Supply, and some works for other international pavilions that help him to be established as one of the more outstanding figures of Architecture and Interior Design of its time.
- Lilly Roche managed to arrive in America in 1935, and she had a brief encounter with van der Rohe. Roche wanted to explore possibilities to continue working with the acclaimed Architect, but there wasn’t an agreement, and Reich returns to Germany. She kept as a guardian then of the Bauhaus and van der Rohe Legacy among their work as a teacher, till she died in 1946.
- Since the 1990s, Mid Century Modern Style has a great surge among the American public and became one of the major forces of decor. That motivated a giant surge in the market of replicas. The market of replicas since then has been trying to cope with the demand of this style for the Americas, with high-quality pieces at affordable prices.
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