Hello, it’s Erika from small shop, and for this “Design Under the Influence” I thought I’d focus on a chair that I grew up with: the Breuer caned chair. “It’s among the 10 most important chairs of the 20th century,” said Cara McCarty, associate curator, department of architecture and design at the Museum of Modern Art (New York Times, 1991).
You may think this chair is straight out of the 1970’s, but the original design actually dates back to 1928. Marcel Breuer, the designer, was a Bauhaus-trained architect that revolutionized the traditional chair in 1925 by using tubular steel in his famous Wassily chair — inspired by the handlebars on his bicycle! With his B-32 “Cesca” design in 1928 (named after his daughter Francesca), he successfully married traditional and modern materials and techniques with his use of industrial steel and natural caning, creating the “perfect modern” chair. Additionally, the engineering of his cantilever was particularly ingenious, as the tubular steel frame was significantly lighter than previous attempts by other designers. By adding a sturdy wood frame to the seat and back, he eliminated the need for the additional support, leaving a light, elegant structure.
I particularly like how this modern masterpiece adds just enough of a retro feeling to a room without overpowering it:
As significant of a design that it was, it’s surprising how rare it is these days that we see them in interiors magazines. But whenever I do, I get hit with a sense of nostalgia and a desire to snatch up a set for myself!
“Mass production made me interested in polished metal, in shiny and impeccable lines in space, as new components of our interiors. I considered such polished and curved lines not only symbolic of our modern technology but actually to be technology.” ~ Marcel Breuer