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.