Model MR534 Lounge Chair, ca. 1927

  • Creator: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
  • Year: ca. 1927

Cantilevered chair with a curved support made of tubular steel, on which a cane seat and chair are woven tightly. The use of curved tubular steel and the cantilever design give the chair an airy and light look.

This cantilevered chair was first shown at the Weissenhof exhibition in Stuttgart, Germany in 1927. Its companion chair, the MR10, also debuted at the exhibit and has an identical design silhouette, except that it lacks arms. Mies was assigned to organize the exhibit and in November of 1926, met several designers preparing works for the show. One of them, architect Mart Stam, had been working on a concept for a cantilevered chair that did away with a chair’s traditional four legs, and instead used gas piping that was screwed together with angle fittings into one continuous piece. Mies was intrigued with the idea, but hated the cumbersome fittings. He re-drew the chair as a series of curves and specified that it be bent cold to retain the elasticity inherent in the tubular steel. Once the steel was properly shaped, he had it nickel-plated. A cane seat and arms completed this new cantilevered furniture form.

The result stunned the exhibition’s visitors. The chairs defied the conventional notion of what a chair was or could be. There was reluctance on the part of some to sit in the designs since they were convinced that it would not hold their weight. Instead, not only did the chair prove to be comfortable, with a generous seat and back, it heralded new possibilities for what could be accomplished with modern materials and a keen eye. The light, almost transparent profile of the chair was ideal for modern architecture and interiors. For his original concept work, Mart Stam was later given artistic copyright for the design of the chairs.

Model MR534 Lounge Chair, ca. 1927; Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (American, b. Germany, 1886–1969); bent nickel-plated tubular steel, cane; H x W x D: 83.2 × 57.8 × 76.2 cm (32 3/4 in. × 22 3/4 in. × 30 in.); Gift of the David Teiger Trust; 2016-36-7

Gift of the David Teiger Trust

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