Thoughtfully designed and inherently functional, Modernist works of art and structures are not always necessarily wholly understood in their rich history.
In its most recent Design Issue, Atomic Ranch detailed the preeminent designers, artists, and architects that together helped shape the course of Modernism, highlighting the enduring influence of 20th Century design and its timeless appeal to consumers and industry insiders alike. In "Glossary: Who Sculpted Modernism," Knoll master designers Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, and Warren Platner are three among the four influential figures featured.
The piece discusses Mies van der Rohe's humble origins, prodigious talent, and career achievements before he became a mentor to Florence Knoll and granted her the rights to produce his furniture. Mies began working with both his stonemason father and as an apprentice to architect Peter Behrens in Germany before starting his own practice. With its simplicity and ease of form, Mie's Barcelona Chair designed in 1929 is noted as a highlight of his career, the legacy of his work, and a staple of modern design.
Another pioneer of Modernism, Marcel Breuer is featured in the article for his revolutionary manipulation of tubular steel in furniture design, creating the Wassily Chair in 1925. The piece would have a lasting impact on the tenets of modern design. The article reinforces that Breuer's influence and craftmanship is marked by his marriage of art and industrial design, with Breuer once stating that, "Structure is not just a means to a solution. It is also a principle and a passion."
Warren Platner is also presented in the piece for his intrinsic versatility and holistic approach as an architect developing structures, lighting, and furniture. Platner graduated from the Cornell architecture program in 1941 and worked for Raymond Loewy, I.M. Pei, and Eero Saarinen before opening his own firm. The pieces emphasizes the importance of his work with Knoll, stating that the Platner Collection, "has become an iconic symbol of the era."
While these three celebrated Knoll designers all hail from unique backgrounds, they are united by their fundamental contributions to Modernism and the streamlined design principles that have stood the test of time.