All Articles, Marcel Breuer, Mid-Century Modern Designers

Ten great designs by Marcel Breuer

The Wassily Chair. Marcel Breuer created this Modernist inspired chair in the mid-1920s. The two main components that go into the construction of this chair are leather and tubular steel. The leather upholstery is made of cowhide and is available in the colors of black, brown, white, beige, and red. The steel metal frames are polished with a chrome finish. These frames consist of three parts that are fitted together like a puzzle; a seat frame, a back frame, and a side frame. The seat of the chair contains a single, square shaped leather strap for sitting. A “U” shaped steel tube holds the leather seat in place and is connected to the back frame and side frame of the chair. The back consists of two rectangular leather bands fitted across a square shaped tubular steel frame. In between the two leather bands is a space that holds the side frame, which includes the chair’s arms and legs. The side frame is the largest of the three tubes and has a support in the front and back to hold the other two steel tubes steady. Each arm of the chair consists of two leather armbands. The top of each armrest has a leather band that is placed across the curved part of the tube-like frame. Each inner side of the chair also contains a leather band. The arms of the chair trail down to form the legs, which are designed in the shape of the square that bends at the corners to form a bottom piece that allows the chair to slide across surfaces without scratching them. Another name for this chair is the Model B3 chair.

The African Chair. This is an extremely colorful chair that is inspired by the designs and style of African fabrics. Breuer collaborated with Gunta Stolzl to create a chair with an oak and cherry wood frame that could be painted with a plethora of colors. The stiles on each side of the chair turn inwards and cross one another to form a twisted crest. The back consists of a piece of cloth made from hemp, wool and cotton. One singular stick is placed in the center of the chair’s back to hold the cloth in place. Four legs hold the rounded piece of wood for the seat steady. A cushion for the seat is also included as a part of the chair. Both the cloth support and the seat cushion match the designs painted on the wooden frame of the chair.

The Laccio Tables. Marcel Breuer created a group of tubular steel tables that could be pieced together by layering smaller tables over one large table. The term used for placing tables together in such a fashion is known as “nesting”. The top of each table consists of a singular rectangular or square piece of plastic coated in a laminated finish. A singular piece of tubular steel holds the plastic top in place. This steel frame bends delicately at the corners and legs to form a table that can be pushed against a wooden or linoleum floor without causing damage.

The Aluminum Chaise Longue No. 313. Lines and angles are abundant in this reclining patio chair. It is designed using an aluminum frame that holds many aluminum horizontal slats in place. The head of the chair stands erect before sloping downward to support the back. The seat dips low before rising upward and then bending slightly downward as a means of resting one’s legs. The legs form a lengthy bottom support that extends from the footrest to the headrest. Armrests are included with a cover protecting the top section of the tubes. A stretcher below the seat holds the armrests in place as the frames that comprise of the armrests are attached to the bottom support.

The Thornet S 285 Desk. This is an asymmetrically designed desk with a tubular steel frame that bends at several 90-degree angles. Several pieces of lacquered wood are placed in between the chrome-finished tubes and are used as surfaces for writing and setting items down. There is one large rectangular piece of wood placed in between the topmost level of the frame. Two or three smaller square shaped wooden pieces are included among the sub-levels of the desk. A drawer is sometimes fitted in between the smaller wood platforms.

The F 40 Cantilever Sofa. Tubular metal frames support two long, rectangular leather cushions for the seat and back of this sofa. The back cushion is flatter and slightly smaller than the seat cushion. Another difference between the back and seat cushions is that the seat cushion is bent slightly at the front and includes a lesser number of tacked buttons sewn into the upholstery. The color of the sofa is usually white but black sofas have been occasionally manufactured as well. Five metal rods with rounded edges are situated vertically inside the horizontal rail that is a part of the main tubular frame. These metal rods hold the back of the cushion in place. The underside of the seat has five tube shaped rods placed perpendicular to the legs that hold the seat in place.

The WB 301 Chair. This is a minimally designed chair that is similar to that of the cantilever chair with the “S” shaped frame. It has a small plywood back support that is attached to an aluminum frame. The frame extends down to support the smooth square shaped seat that forms a small basin in the middle. The difference between this chair and the cantilever chair is that a crescent shaped addition is placed on the underside of the seat to maintain the proper balance.

The Cesca Chair. The tubular steel frame of this chair forms a distinct “S” shape that indicates simplicity and sleekness. This frame supports the two flat, squared shaped leather cushions or woven cane panels with rounded corners that form the back and seat of the chair. Some chairs include armrests that are bent downward slightly near the front, and other chairs are built without armrests. The armrests match the seat and back of the chair with the covering placed over the top of the tubular steel frame. These chairs are also known as cantilever chairs for the fact that there are no back legs included their design.

The F 41 Lounge Chair on Wheels. Three cane panels are held in place by a tubular chrome frame. One panel forms the back of the chair, a second panel forms the chair’s body, and a third panel has been created to serve as the foot of the chair. In between each panel, the tubular frame dips down where vintage nickel-plated wheels are attached to the frame. The chair comes with a total of five wheels. There are two wheels each at the foot and the back of the chair. A fifth wheel is included in the middle of body panel of the chair. A bicycle chain holds this standalone wheel in place.

The Isokon Longchair. Waves are the intended effect when viewing the design of this chair. A single, flat rectangular timber panel is placed in between a birch wood frame that has been laminated. The timber panel slopes down to the seat before rising to form a leg rest and bending down slightly to form a footrest. The frame that supports the panel consists of five pieces of birch wood. Two pieces form the armrests, two pieces form the ground supports, and a stretcher underneath the seat connects the armrests to one another to maintain balance. The armrests create a wavy effect with the way in which they slope down and then rise up with a smooth, flowing visual form before turning back down towards the ground in connection with the ground frames.