Marcel Breuer


Wassily chair, model B3


Product Description

Marcel Breuer (1902-1981)

Wassily Chair, model B3

Black leather, tubular steel

H: 72cm  W: 77cm  D: 65cm

Knoll Associates International, USA, 1960’s

The Wassily Chair, designed by Marcel Breuer in 1925, was his most important and iconic design.  The relatively complex tubular steel frame was designed to provide comfort. This chair was revolutionary in the use of the materials and methods of manufacturing. In 1925 Breuer purchased his first bicycle and he was impressed with the lightness of its tubular steel frame. This inspired him to experiment with using the material in furniture design.

The chair was first manufactured in the late 1920s by Thonet. It was first available in both a folding and a non-folding version. In this first edition the straps were made of fabric, pulled taut on the reverse side with the use of springs. The fabric used was made from Eisengarn, a strong, shiny, waxed-cotton thread. It had been invented in the 19th century, but Margaretha Reichardt , a student at the Bauhaus weaving workshop, experimented and improved the quality of the thread and developed cloth and strapping material for use on Breuer’s tubular-steel chairs. After the War years, Gavina picked up the license for the Wassily and introduced the more recognized Wassily version that replaced the fabric with black leather straps, though the fabric version was still made available. In 1968 Knoll bought the Gavina Group of Bologna. This brought all of Breuer’s design into the Knoll catalog.


Marcel Breuer


Marcel Lajos Breuer (1902-1981), was a Hungarian-born modernist, architect and furniture designer. One of the masters of Modernism, Breuer extended the sculptural vocabulary he had developed in the carpentry shop at the Bauhaus into a personal architecture that made him one of the world's most popular architects at the peak of 20th-Century design.

Breuer left his hometown at the age of 18 in search of artistic training and was one of the first and youngest students at the Bauhaus.

After the school had moved from Weimar to Dessau in 1925, Breuer returned from a brief stay in Paris to join older faculty members such as Josef Albers, Wassily Kandinsky, and Paul Klee as a Master, eventually teaching in its newly established department of architecture.

First he was recognized for his invention of tubular steel furniture.

One of the most famous of Breuer's tubular steel chairs, was the Wassily Chair.

In 1936, Breuer relocated to London.

While in London, Breuer was employed by Jack Pritchard at the Isokon company, one of the earliest proponents of modern design in the United Kingdom. Breuer designed his Long Chair as well as experimenting with bent and formed plywood. Between 1935 and 1937 he worked in practice with the English Modernist F. R. S. Yorke with whom he designed a number of houses.

In 1937, Walter Gropius accepted the appointment as chairman of Harvard's Graduate School of Design and Breuer followed his mentor to join the faculty in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The two men formed a partnership that was to greatly influence the establishment of an American way of designing modern houses. After a few years in Cambridge, he moved to New York City to establish a practice that was centered there for the rest of his life.