2014-06-25 22:25:03

Originally named the 'B3 Chair' (presumably mimicking the looping shape of the characters), Marcel Breuer’s 1925 Wassily Chair was inspired by the use of tubular steel in the bicycle and the subsequent application of this material and technique to furniture revolutionized modern design and production, in a manner exemplary of the Bauhaus' manifesto of 'Form + Function'.

Later named after his friend Wassily Kandinsky (who adored the chair and was given the prototype), this design has pride of place in the 20th Century Avant-Garde movements. It is truly a chair of significance and influence.

Tubular steel revolutionized furniture production and thus design. It provided a vital material to Avant-Garde movements (and the Bauhaus in particular) that spawned mass production techniques and, in so doing, gave both momentum and expression to the zeitgeist of 'form and function'. 100 years ago, it was pretty hot stuff.

If you find yourself watching the ITV Agatha Christie’s Poirot “Dead Man’s Mirror” episode, there is a gorgeous snippet where the erudite Poirot visits the studio of (fictional) furniture designer Hugo Trent, who expounds effusively the bold and exciting future of furniture design thanks to tubular steel (see if you can identify the iconic designs scattered throughout the workshop). Thankfully for Hugo his uncle subsequently gets shot, thus securing the bequeath of capital required to develop further this ground-breaking work.

Though in reality it is Marcel Breuer, not Hugo’s uncle’s murderer, to whom we should be most thankful.

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