Lounge Chairs

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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Lounge chairs have been a favorite of many modern furniture designers since the early 20th century. Along with chairs and coffee tables, chaise lounges represent the some of the most important pieces of furniture to emerge from the modernist tradition of furniture design. Perhaps two of the most engaging lounge chairs of the last century are Mies Van Der Rohe's Barcelona series, and Le Corbusier's Lounge Chair of 1929.

Two Well-Known Lounge Chairs

Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe was a prolific architect who produced furniture for only five years. During that time he participated in the 1929 Barcelona World's Fair, where he introduced both one of his most important buildings, the German Pavilion and one of the most influential lines of modern furniture ever, the Barcelona series of a chair, a footstool, a table, and a daybed. All of the furniture designs were formally and conceptually linked to the German Pavilion itself, creating a unified front of International modernist design.

The Barcelona chair, lounge, and ottoman are the most cohesive of the designs. Designed under Mies Van Der Rohe's ideals of "God is in the details" and "less is more," the furniture consists of curved tubular steel supporting lush black leather forms that, though geometric, invoke the organic. The Barcelona series may have been the first modernly constructed (steel) furniture to be taken under the wing of "luxury" and adopted by the well-to-do.

Le Corbusier also introduced his modern lounge chairs in 1929. Similarly, it featured tubular steel construction, though the design of the sitting surface differed greatly from Mies Van Der Rohe's Barcelona chair. Le Corbusier focused his ideas of functionality and convenience into the sinuous form of his chaise lounge, creating what he referred to as a "rest machine."


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