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MARCEL BREUER (1902-1981)

V.Ryan © 2017

 
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Marcel Breuer was an influential modernist designer and made a significant contribution to the Bauhaus and the modernist movement. He was both an architect and a designer, like many of the influential modernists advocates, of the early to mid twentieth century. His early design education was as a student at the Bauhaus, where his ability as a designer was recognised. After a short time working in a Paris architectural practice, he moved back to the Bauhaus in 1925, as Head of the Carpentry Shop, working with his ‘mentor’ Walter Gropius (the founder of the Bauhaus).  
 
 
 
The Wassily or B3 Club Chair (1924), was the first chair to be manufactured from tubular steel. It was inspired by bicycle, tubular steel handle bars. This became an iconic design, best representing the modernist philosophy of simplicity and functionality. He believed in ‘civilising technology’, in that modern technology and processes, should be utilised in everyday products, making them available to as wide a market as possible.   WASSILY OR B3 CLUB CHAIR- 1924

     
In 1927, Breuer’s B5 chair was manufactured (designed in 1926). It was a nickel plated, tubular steel construction and originally manufactured as one of the products to furnish the interior of the Bauhaus.
The chair was retailed by Breuer’s own company, which was a serious ‘bone of contention’ with Walter Gropius, who expected all Bauhaus designers, to have their designs manufactured by the Bauhaus’s own company.
  THE B5 CHAIR - 1926/27

 
 
 
The B35 Chair (1928), was originally produced for the Thonet Company of Germany, the same company that manufactured millions of the famous ‘bent wood’ furniture range . The seat was designed to give the illusion, that it floated on the chromed frame.   THE B35 CHAIR - 1928

     

Through designers such as Breuer and Gropius, the Bauhaus promoted the use of modernist materials including tubular steel. Material that had not been used previously in furniture design or even considered as a suitable material for furniture. Tubular steel is light, versitile and cheap. It can be joined, shaped and formed in different ways, opening up new design possibitilites. This was the design philosophy of the Bauhaus.

Marcel Breuer used tubular steel in the construction of his famous / iconic cantilever chair. The MB-118 Chair is manufactured to this day, from one piece of steel tube. This is now regarded as a design classic.

  MB-118 CHAIR 1928

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MB-118 CHAIR

Minimalist in design.
Simplicity is key to this design.
Simple shape and form.
The function of the chair put before decoration.
Minimal material used.
New materials and manufacturing techniques used in this innovative design.
Aesthetically pleasing.
 
 
 
Breuer’s ‘Long Chair’ of 1935 was a deviation from his tubular steel designs. However, it was following the growing popularity of plywood, as a material suitable for the modern world and the modernist movement.
When studied carefully, the design of this chair is in the same style as his tubular steel chairs, but manufactured from an alternative material.
  THE LONG CHAIR 1935

 
 
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