bauhaus furniture design, impressions of the tubular steel lounge chair

tubular steel and wheelchairs.  an unfair association?   

Mies van der Rohe D 42 Bauhaus Armchair

mies van der rohe D 42 bauhaus armchair

i should be impressed by the strength of the steel frame, especially the cantilevered form.  i am sure the 1920s-30s bauhaus generation that first saw the chair must have been suspicious, then most impressed.  then the clean smooth steel and simple fabric seat are inviting.  maybe this style is what you are looking for in your interior design.  i am not sure it is for me.  what is behind the like or dislike of this style?  

chaise-longue by mies van der rohe, germany 1931

chaise-longue by mies van der rohe, germany 1931

the designs that came from the bauhaus school (germany, 1919-1933) like the people who worked there, were rejecting adornment and frivolity.  they were german, french, and russian, reeling from the shock of the mud and trenches of the first world war, rejecting the aristocracy and the mess the world had become in their hands.  this is understandable.  my father’s family never recovered from the loss of uncle hugh, my granny’s brother.  we have settled down now into the normality of mechanized war, but that one was a particularly weird and prolonged horror.  in the cultural freedom of that once off lull time, between that war and the next big shock, the great depression, bauhaus designers made their clinical statement about life.  the radical politics of the far left and the far right were emerging as the would be salvation of the world.  this led to communism and fascism, the second world war and the subsequent cold war. so much for man’s big ideas to save us.  

sadly, we seem to be repeating history.  if adornment and frivolity are to be associated with riches and power, and we are just angry with the rich and powerful because they are not one of us or we are not one of them, we are on a dangerous road.  but this may explain our reactions to these chairs.  i am not a proponent of clutter, but nor do i want a totally unadorned or unfrivolous life that tries to exclude, somehow, the fantastic variations of people and places and the beauty of this world.  maybe you are impressed more by the messiness of life, the upheaval of our times, and a more clinical look to your interior design gives you hope.  pay attention, though, to your view of the world.  is it religiously clinical?  this will not save you and your life will be sadly crippled.

i found an interesting blog about mies van der rohe’s greenwald house.  i include here just one of several great pictures on that blog.  the huge windows and openness to nature is the best part of the design.  (i would stick a few rose bushes in the gardens, at least….)

Mies Van Der Rohe Morris Greenwald House

Mies Van Der Rohe Morris Greenwald House


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