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Model B3 Chair or the Wassily Chair by Marcel Breuer

Model B3 Chair or The Wassily Chair By Marcel Breuer

Who is Marcel Breuer?

Marcel Breuer was a Hungarian-born modernist architect, designer, and educator who was a leading figure in developing the International Style of architecture. Breuer moved to Vienna at 18, where he joined the Bauhaus School of Design. Walter Gropius, the founder of the movement, spotted him and appointed him as a head carpenter at the school. He would become a lifelong mentor for Breuer.
With the rise of the Nazi Party and the shutdown of the Bauhaus school, Breuer moved to London in 1935 at the suggestion of his mentor. He joined Jack Pritchard at Isokon company.
He designed the Unesco Headquarters in Paris. It was his first major institutional building. In 1937, he was appointed as the Harvard Graduate School of Design chair.
In 1966 he designed the first Whitney Museum building at 945 Madison Avenue on Manhattan’s Upper East Side. The Museum would move in 2014 to a building designed by Renzo Piano.
Breuer continued to design many institutional buildings throughout his life.

What is the Wassily Chair?

The Wassily Chair, also known as the Model B3 Chair, is a leather-upholstered armchair designed by Marcel Breuer in the early 1920s while he was working as an apprentice at the Bauhaus, a German art and design school. The chair is known for its minimalist design, use of industrial materials, and its reference to the geometry of the machine age. The chair is made of a bent tubular steel frame and is considered a pioneering example of modernist furniture design. The chair is modelled after the overstuffed traditional club chair. However, Breuer paired it down to the elegant frame with the tubular steel resonating with the handlebars of a bicycle.

Unlike popular belief, the chair was not designed by the painter Wassily Kandinsky, a fellow Bauhaus teacher. However, he was one of the first people to own it.
When it was first manufactured by Thonet, the German Austrian furniture manufacturer, under the name Model B3, Wassily Chair’s name came later when the Italian manufacturer Gavina reissued it post-World War II. In 1966, the American company Knoll bought Gavina. The Wassily Chair became part of their catalogue. The design patents have expired, and the company only owns the trademark. Many manufacturers around the world reproduced the chair under a different name.

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