Marcel Breuer Furniture

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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The two most common pieces of Marcel Breuer furniture remain his Wassily chair of 1925 and his Table Laccio, also of 1925. Though these two pieces represent many of Breuer's ideas, there are many other designs of his that explore principles not used in the Wassily chair and the Laccio. Specifically, many of his structural explorations have to do with cantilevering different materials, including steel and wood.

Breuer's early period as a designer involved a lot of time in Germany's Bauhaus. Before becoming faculty there, Breuer spent time making furniture as a carpentry student in the early 1920s. Two early pieces of Marcel Breuer furniture, the African chair and the Slatted chair, were designed during his time as a student there.

After returning as faculty in 1924 or `25, Breuer designed and built the first Wassily chair for his friend and fellow instructor Wassily Kandinsky. The Wassily chair features leather stretched over tubular steel, which Breuer was fond of using because of its affordable and hygienic qualities. The chair was designed for Kandinsky's living room in Dessau; at the time, Breuer was designing most of the interiors for the master's residences at the Bauhaus.

Marcel Breuer Furniture After the Bauhaus

Later, Marcel Breuer furniture explored cantilevered steel bands and plywood--a material that Breuer would continue to explore through the middle of the 20th century. By 1941 he had set up an architectural practice in New York, and in 1948 he designed a full house of cutout plywood furniture that was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Between the 1940 and 1950, Breuer designed over 70 private homes, and then went on to work on the UNESCO building and New York's Whitney Museum of Modern Art.

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