Marcel Breuer was an apprentice at the Bauhaus when he began experimenting with tubular steel as a way of building a more transparent chair. Inspired by the frame of a bicycle and influenced by the constructivist theories of the De Stjil movement, Breuer reduced the form of the classic club chair to its elemental lines and planes.Share
A classic KnollStudio design, produced to Breuer's original specifications.
The KnollStudio logo and the signature of Breuer, Marcel are stamped into the base of the chairs.
Frame is seamless tubular steel with a polished chrome finish.
Thick cowhide or Spinneybeck belting leather and haired hide, as well as natural canvas.
Opaque, plastic, snap-in-place glides are included for optional insertion when used on hard floors.
The natural canvas has been added to the thick cowhide leather upholstery options available in black, light brown or white beige colours.
Spinneybeck Belting Leather upholstery option is available in a wide range of neutral and bright colours.
Spinneybeck Haired Hide upholstery option is available in a variety of distinctive colorways.
Frame is polished chrome finish.
The Museum of Modern Art Award, 1968.
Recognition as "Work of Art" Germany, 1982.
79cm W x 69cm D x 73cm H, with a seat height of 42cm.
In an interview with a Knoll historian, Marcel Breuer described how he came to begin experimenting with bent tubular steel while at the Bauhaus:“At that time I was rather idealistic. 23 years old. I made friends with a young architect, and I bought my first bicycle. I learned to ride the bicycle and talked to this young fellow and told him that the bicycle seems to be a perfect production because it hasn’t changed in the last twenty, thirty years. It is still the original bicycle form. He said, “Did you ever see how they make those parts? How they bend those handlebars? You would be interested because they bend those steel tubes like macaroni.” "This somehow remained in my mind, and I started to think about steel tubes which are bent into frames—probably that is the material you could use for an elastic and transparent chair. Typically, I was very much engaged with the transparency of the form. "That is how the first chair was made…I realised that the bending had to go further. It should only be bent with no points of welding on it so it could also be chromed in parts and put together. That is how the first Wassily was born. I was myself somewhat afraid of criticism. I didn’t tell anyone I was doing these experiments actually. [Wassily] Kandinsky, who came by chance to my studio when the first chair was brought in, said, “What’s this?” He was very interested and then the Bauhaus got very interested in it. A year later, I had furnished the whole Bauhaus with this furniture.”
Protégé of Bauhaus founder, Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer embodied many of the School's distinctive concepts and was and one of the School's most famous students. He returned shortly thereafter to teach carpentry from 1925 to 1928, and during this time designed his tubular-steel furniture collection: functional, simple and distinctly modern. His attention drifted towards architecture, and after practicing privately, he worked as a professor at Harvard's School of Design under Gropius. Breuer was also honoured as the first architect to be the sole artist of an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.