They say that behind a great man there is always a great woman.
Nowadays, times has evolved and society wants that each person gets the credit that really deserves for their creations.
Is that the case with the famous Barcelona Collection? Are portrayed all the creators?. Let’s take a look.
L. Mies van der Rohe is without a doubt one of the major figures of Architecture in the XX Century. The Seagram’s Building, the IBM Center, are just a short list of the major accomplishments that van der Rohe made in such a stunning career. When it comes to Interior Design, van der Rohe is accredited with one of the most influential collections of the XX Century: The Barcelona Collection. Formed by the Barcelona Sofa, Barcelona Loveseat, the Barcelona Table and Ottoman, and the Barcelona Chair; there is no doubt that today, 91 years later, the Barcelona Collection remains as some of the most popular icons in furniture.
Nevertheless, as furniture, this period was the only with an effort of van der Rohe. Not even before or after van der Rohe presented any furniture original pieces.
At the time the Barcelona Collection was created, van der Rohe was sentimentally involved with Lilly Reich, a famous Interior Designer, that has an interesting career at the moment. Indeed, Lilly Reich was the Artistic Director of the German Pavilion of the Barcelona International Exposition of 1929, where the Barcelona Collection was released. Reich and van der Rohe worked together in many projects, and their relationship extended for at least ten years, until van der rohe emigrated to the US in 1938.
Lilly was an outstanding designer, with special skills on fabrics. textiles and women clothes. Actually her name is fully acknowledged in previous furniture pieces with Rohe, like the Weissenhoff chair. But in the Barcelona Collection there is not acknowledgment whatsoever.
Was Lilly Reich the secret genius that inspired the Barcelona Chair? Were their special abilities enough to suggest van der Rohe the design of the frame, cushions, straps, or any other elements in the collection?. Time will tell, meanwhile Mid Century Modern Furniture keeps inspiring designers all over the world through creations like the Barcelona Collection.