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The Remarkable Wassily Chair: A Masterpiece of Modern Design

CEO Khai Intela
Marcel Breuer's iconic Wassily chair never ceases to impress. The Wassily Chair, also known as the Model B3 Chair, is a true testament to the genius of Marcel Breuer. Designed between 1925 and 1926 during...

Wassily Chair Marcel Breuer's iconic Wassily chair never ceases to impress.

The Wassily Chair, also known as the Model B3 Chair, is a true testament to the genius of Marcel Breuer. Designed between 1925 and 1926 during his tenure as the head of the cabinet-making workshop at the Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany, this chair has become a symbol of modern design.

Contrary to popular belief, the Wassily Chair was not originally crafted for the renowned non-objective painter, Wassily Kandinsky, though he greatly admired its design. It was only later, decades after its creation, that the chair acquired its name.

The Revolutionary Vision of Marcel Breuer

Marcel Breuer Faltsessel Marcel Breuer's Faltsessel, Chair D4 (1927)

Marcel Breuer, a prominent figure in the modern movement and a protege of Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, played a pivotal role in both architecture and furniture design. During his time at the Bauhaus, Breuer revolutionized modern interiors with his innovative tubular-steel furniture collection. Inspired by bicycle construction and employing the techniques of local plumbers, these designs broke new ground in the industry. Among his notable creations, the Wassily Chair remains an enduring icon of modern furniture.

Initially manufactured in the late 1920s by Thonet, a renowned German-Austrian furniture manufacturer, the chair was first introduced as the Model B3. Available in both folding and non-folding versions, the early edition featured fabric straps tightened with springs on the reverse side.

Margaretha Reichardt's Contribution

In the development of Breuer's tubular-steel chairs, a student at the Bauhaus weaving workshop, Margaretha Reichardt, made a significant contribution. Experimenting with a waxed-cotton thread called Eisengarn, she improved its quality and developed cloth and strapping material for the chairs. This innovation revolutionized the Wassily Chair, enhancing its durability and sleek aesthetic.

During World War II, Thonet's production of the chair ceased, making the Thonet version a rarity. However, most of Breuer's early designs were manufactured by Standard-Möbel, Lengyel & Company, a Berlin-based furniture company. Interestingly, the Wassily Chair was the only significant design by Breuer that wasn't offered by this company.

A Timeless Classic

Wassily Chairs in Bauhaus Wassily Chairs add a touch of elegance to the Bauhaus of Dessau.

After the war, Gavina acquired the license for the Wassily Chair, along with other Breuer designs previously sold by Standard-Möbel, Lengyel & Company. They brought forth the more recognized version of the chair, replacing the fabric straps with black leather. Knoll later acquired the Gavina Group in 1968, incorporating all of Breuer's designs into their catalog.

The Wassily Chair embodied a revolutionary use of materials and manufacturing techniques. Inspired by the lightweight tubular steel frame of his bicycle, Breuer utilized this material in furniture design. The success of the chair was made possible by the seamless pipe manufacturing process developed by German steel manufacturer Mannesmann. This process eliminated the collapsed welded seam that plagued previous attempts at using steel tubing.

Today, the Wassily Chair stands as a design classic, still available to grace modern interiors. While the patent designs have expired, Knoll possesses the trademark name rights. Reproductions of this iconic chair can be found worldwide, marketed under various names.

In Conclusion

Marcel Breuer's Wassily Chair represents the pinnacle of modern design. Its clean lines, innovative use of materials, and timeless appeal have ensured its place in design history. From its humble origins at the Bauhaus to its widespread production today, this chair continues to capture the hearts of design enthusiasts everywhere. Embrace the spirit of Breuer's creation and infuse your space with the remarkable Wassily Chair.