Known for its sleek metal and dramatic tufting, an original paves the way for pretty new seats with big-city style
New colors, finishes refresh the Barcelona chair.
afixture of the modern movement and an icon in furniture design, the Barcelona chair emerged in 1929. The brainchild of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the visionary who gave us that oft-cited maxim “less is more,” his clean-lined creation was designed to furnish the German Pavilion at the International Exhibition in Barcelona, where it would serve as seating worthy of the king and queen of Spain.
The acclaimed original design—still produced to Mies’ specifications by Knoll—has inspired a crop of new iterations. Paying homage to the classic, below, most of these fresh interpretations flaunt the familiar biscuit tufting and metal base but bring a current spin with contemporary colors and materials (think luxe velvet and warm brass).
Whether new or old, the chair offers undeniable comfort and good looks. “The Barcelona has always been my favorite chair,” says California designer Kelli Ellis, who recently visited Mies’ historic pavilion in Barcelona.
Obviously, the legend endures. We’ll never say adéu—Barcelona forever!
SEAMLESS METAL CURVES MEET CLASSIC BISCUIT TUFTING, BRINGING THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS TOGETHER.”
—designer Kelli Ellis
Lee Industries Sicily Camel leather gives the “1549-01” chair with polished stainlesssteel frame masculine flair (leeindustries.com). Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Sink into the plush “Major” chair with grid-tufted Avignon-Merlot upholstery and a satin-brass base—or in other custom combinations (mgbwhome.com). Jonathan Adler Repping’70s glam, the “Goldfinger” lounge chair stuns with Rialto Navy velvet and a polishedbrass base ( jonathanadler.com). Bernhardt The “Hyder” chair with horizontal channeling keeps the iconic form clean and simple (bernhardt.com). Milo Baughman for RH Originally designed in 1969, the “#1373 Chair” with its low-slung tufted seat dons Twilight performance velvet (rh.com). Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1929, for Knoll The original coveted and extremely recognizable “Barcelona” chair (knoll.com).