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Cesca Chair - Armless

Marcel Breuer 1928

Marcel Breuer married traditional craftsmanship with industrial methods and materials to help make tubular steel furniture an international sensation and a modern institution. The cantilevered form exploits the possibilities unique to the material and gives the chair added flexibility and comfort. The iconic seat features hand-woven cane inserts and a beech frame.

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    Details

    Construction and Details
    • Seat frame is solid beech with either a clear natural lacquer or matte ebonized finish
    • Cane insets are handwoven
    • Frame is 1” diameter chrome-plated round steel tube with a polished finish
    • Plastic glides snap into base to protect floors
    • The KnollStudio logo and signature of Marcel Breuer are stamped into the base of the chair

    Dimensions

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    “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 realized 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.”

    After completing the Wassily, Breuer felt that the potential grace of the material was not yet fully exploited. The Wassily design was very much influenced by the constructivist theories of the Dutch De Stjil movement. A familiar form — in this case the classic club chair — reduced to its elemental lines and planes. The result was an overlapping, dense arrangement of leather and tubing. For the Cesca chairs Breuer sought to better celebrate the new material. An attempt to reduce visual noise led him to the continuous line of steel supporting a cantilevered seat — one of the most copied concepts in 20th century furniture.
     

     

    A champion of the modern movement and protégé of Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer is equally celebrated for his achievements in architecture and furniture. Breuer was a student and subsequently a master carpenter at the Bauhaus in the early 1920s. His entire body of work, both architecture and furniture, embodies the driving Bauhaus objective to reconcile art and industry. While at the Bauhaus, Breuer revolutionized the modern interior with his tubular-steel furniture collection — inspired by bicycle construction and fabricated using the techniques of local plumbers. His first designs, including the Wassily, remain among the most identifiable icons of the modern furniture movement.

    While Breuer never worked directly for Knoll, he is nonetheless an influential figure in the company’s history. He was an early mentor to Florence Knoll during her time in the office of Walter Gropius in the 1930s. It was also Breuer who suggested that Hans Knoll hire Eszter Haraszty, the Knoll Textiles director responsible for many of the Knoll Planning Unit’s most memorable color combinations.

    Breuer eventually sold his furniture collection to the Italian design company Gavina SpA. In large part it was the Breuer Collection that motivated Knoll to acquire Gavina in 1968. Along with The Wassily Chair, the collection included the Cesca side chair and Laccio table collection — both modern classics in their own right.