Wassily Chair

Written by Nicholas Kamuda
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The Wassily chair is one of Marcel Breuer's most lasting furniture designs. Though Breuer enjoyed a long and productive career that stretched into the late 1960s, his early chair designs remain fresh, lush, and modern even today. Among Breuer's hundreds of chair designs, the Wassily chair is one of the most groundbreaking, respected, and prized designs that he produced.

Bauhaus Designs and The Wassily Chair

Marcel Breuer spent much of the 1920s as a student and faculty member at the Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany. After becoming the head of the carpentry workshop, Breuer tackled designing many of the interiors of the Bauhaus master's apartments. Around the same time, in 1925, he designed the Wassily chair for fellow faculty member Wassily Kandinsky.

The Wassily chair came out of Breuer's early experiments in tubular steel. It featured a tubular steel frame supporting strips of black leather that were stretched across the frame. Tubular steel intrigued Breuer due to its ability to be mass-produced in standardized parts, and due to its structural qualities and tensile strength. By building the frame of the Wassily chair out of tubular steel, Breuer was able to create a strong, flexible form that was ultimately both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Other tubular steel chair designs by Marcel Breuer are the Cesca chair and the Lounge Chair. Both the Cesca and the Lounge chair take advantage of the tensile strength of tubular steel in cantilevered designs. Designed in 1928, both chairs exemplify Breuer's style during his years at the Bauhaus.

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