Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: The famous quotes by the creator of The Barcelona Collection
L. Mies van der Rohe is definitely one of the most famous names from the Modernist movement and the Mid Century Modern Style period. Its contributions to the world of Architecture are enormous, in buildings like the IBM Tower in Chicago witnessed.
When it comes to Interior Design, the legacy of L. Mies van der Rohe isn’t scarce either. The Barcelona Collection, released in 1929 for the International Exposition of Barcelona, is a landmark of furniture and design, due to creations like the Barcelona Chair or the Barcelona Daybed, among others.
Van der Rohe (1886 – 1969), architect of definitive works of the modern urban landscape of Chicago, like the Seagram Buiding and the IBM Plaza, coined several quotes that had a profound impact in the Architecture and reached even the popular mainstrean, like “Less is more” or “God is in the details”. Born in what was prior known as Aquisgran, Prusiam in 1886, he died in Chicago Illinois as an American Citizen with a brand new name.
The legacy of the Barcelona Collection lasts until now, for sure, but there is so much more work that van der Rohe brought us. One of the most garing aspects of der Rohe is his outstanding skill for aphorisms. Some of them are really famous and are a common part of everyday talking. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous quotes by the German-American Designer.
“Means must be subsidiary to ends and to our desire for dignity and value”
This phrase gives us a very clear image of how materials, means, are considered in Mid Century Modern Style. If a function is over design, means are secondary, so its convenient to explore looking always for more efficient materials. Van der Rohe had always a very experimental way to use industrial materials and didn’t repair that much to use metals or plastics in objects previously associated with luxury materials.
“A chair is a very difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier. That is why Chippendale is famous”
A quote that let us know how van der Rohe had respect for furniture, and its inner complexities. It’s a compliment, too, of that famous quote of Le Corbusier: “Chairs are architecture, sofas are bourgeois”. A chair has always design challenges that fascinated masterminds like his. The number of legs, its balance, the ergonomic principles to make it comfortable, were addressed by van der Rohe in creations like the Brno Chair, or the iconic Barcelona Chair.
“Less is more”
One of the most famous quotes of van der Rohe, almost like an advertising slogan, van der Rohe resumes here one of the most influential principles of the Modernist and Mid Century Modern period: Minimalism and the need for few ornaments.
“God is in the details”.
Deeply related to the mystic of work of van der Rohe, this quote is related too to the minimalist approach of the Modernism and Mid Century Modern style. If functionality is over design and ornaments are secondary, the attention of detail is fundamental, both in the big schemes and the most simple activities. Another related quote is very clear about it: “Architecture starts when you carefully put two bricks together. There it begins.”
“Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space”.
Hearing the call of a society that was hungry for great social and technological changes, Mies van der Rohe, both in Architecture and Interior Design, followed a set of rules that reflect the spirit of its time. Minimalism and experimentation with industrial materials attended a need for efficiency in the use of means and costs; something that modern times give high value, even today. The classic lines of a van der Rohe’s building, just like the fines, clean cut surfaces of its famous furniture designs attend to hunger for efficiency, substance, or as he used to say several times: To be a designer of “flesh and bones”.
“Its not possible to going forward while looking back.”
Take a look at how revolutionary were the changes delivered by L. Mies van der Rohe to the world of Interior Design in the beginnings of the XX Century, with works like the Barcelona Collection: minimal ornaments, use of industrial materials such as steel and plastic fiber, the reject of exotic, luxury materials and the look for economy and efficiency in the use of alternative means. A huge change that couldn’t be achieved keeping strong bonds with the past.
The former need for ornaments, ampleness, reached a saturation point. Van der Rohe, along with other creative minds of that time, agreed to impulse a disruptive point of view to reestablish everything again under new rules and a fresh perspective of space and materials.
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