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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) received little formal architectural or design training. After working briefly as a stonemason for the family business, Mies moved to Berlin in 1905. There, he joined the office of Bruno Paul, where he learned furniture design. In 1908, he took a job with Peter Behrens; his colleagues in that office included Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius. Mies went into private practice in 1913, adding the more impressive Rohe, his mother´s maiden name, although he is most commonly referred to simply as Mies.

Mies, often in collaboration with Lilly Reich, designed furniture for many of his early projects, and most of it is still in production today.  In particular, furnishings for the Tugendhat House and the Barcelona Pavilion have become design icons.

In 1937, Mies was appointed head of the architecture department at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, and he left Germany permanently to settle there. His ideas would irrevocably alter the American architectural landscape.  The Seagram Building in New York (1958) was one of the first glass office towers in America, and has since inspired countless imitations. Mies' work was widely published and exhibited, and he was generally regarded as the foremost living architect.

Notable furniture designs include the cantilever MR10 chair, the Barcelona suite of furniture, the Brno chair and the 248L chaise.


Barcelona chair

Barcelona daybed

MR chair

MR chaise

Tugendhat chairs

Brno chair

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