Architect Mies van de Rohe Barcelona Chair 1929, leather & stainless steel

Nothing exists in a vacuum. There is no future without the past.¬† But truth is truth. So much for cliche’s. I would never run out of the endless parade of chairs, I could go on and on and on. How did we get all those differences in the mere chair? The past here is about a school in Germany that changed the future of chairs, architecture and design forever.

The early twentieth century was the beginning of a new era envisioning how we live, work and play. A few who influenced our design decisions from the early centuries to now were the innovative, the thinkers, modern men of the day.  We lived through, and in this order, da Vinci, Michelangelo, Palladio, Downing, Gaudi, Mackintosh, Gropius, van de Rohe, Graves and Gehry. Are you bored yet? Plug any of those names into your Google and read about their magic. The magic of change. The magic of changing lives. We love magic. But do we love change?

Bauhaus Signage

The talented architect, Walter Gropius developed the idea of the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany in 1919, a school to teach design differently, to create change. Finally settling in a new building in Dessau in1926, the Bauhaus is one of the world’s most fascinating schools. It changed how we view and philosophize design. Design in art, furnishings, buildings, even fabric for fashion.

The Barcelona chair, above left, was designed during the Bauhaus era.

I suppose a few weeks might be worthwhile to spend on this history of change of the world. But today, I want to give you some more chair fun.

Take a look at this one. Robert Cohen’s bentwood rocker. This is Robert’s design of a chair made from one single piece of wood. Robert, a modern man who is an innovative thinker, is my architect and friend. He designed a fabulous new studio for me with twelve feet of north light windows. Perfect light, especially for an artist who paints. I paint soft realism. www.gailingis.com

Architect Robert Cohen, AIA, Bentwood Rocker 1986

After he saw last week’s blog with the chair from the book “397 Chairs” he sent me an email. He wrote that a chair he designed was in the book. “Really? It is a small world after all.” I exclaimed. I looked in my book and there it was, #258. So, at a business meeting recently this was the conversation between me and Robert.

Gail: “What inspired you to design this chair?”

Robert: “Well, I actually designed it for a chair competition to be exhibited in “The Chair Fair, Furniture of the 20th Century” at the¬†lntemational Design Center in Long Island City.” While investigating the design idea, I noticed chairs were made with several parts that had to be assembled. I thought it would be interesting to design a chair out of one piece of wood. We used hard maple that could be stained in ebony, cherry, or natural. It also could have been made with Dupont Corian.”

Gail: “Congratulations on your design being chosen for the exhibition. Was the chair ever manufactured?”

Robert: “We made a prototype. And we added an optional loose cushion. But I discovered shipping a chair in one piece would be quite costly and inconvenient. Beyond the prototype, it was not offered for sale, but I still have the rocker.”

Gail: “Thanks Robert. I appreciate your skills and innovative spirit.” www.robertcohenarcitect.com.

Come back next week for more surprises………………

What do you think about changes? In your life what changes have you experienced making a difference in the way you live, work or play? Do you love change? Or only magic?

 

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