Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born as Ludwig Mies on the 27th of March in 1886 in the germany city Aken. When he was 19 years old he moved to Berlin. There he started to work for the famous architect and furniture designer Bruno Paul. Ludwig was barely 20 years old or he he got his first customer. He got to design a house for the philosopher Alois Riehl. Two years later he started to work for the architect Peter Behrens. Even though he didnt have a formal training or something along those lines, his talent was quickly noticed. In 1912, when he was 26, he started his own architectural bureau in Berlin. In 1921 his 6 year long marriage came to an end and he decided to change his name. The maiden name of Ludwig’s mother was Rohe, that’s the reason he chose to call himself Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. In that same year he made a dramatically modern debut with an impressive glass skyscraper.

Birth of the Barcelona Chair

After World War I Germany started to recover. Progressive thinkers called for a completely new architectural design process, which standed for rationally solving problems and an expression of modern lines and materials, instead of boring usage of classic materials. Mies van der Rohe also searched for a new style that fit well with the industrial era. His motto became “Less is more”.

It was around this time that Mies van der Rohe was asked to be the director of the Bauhaus, a world famous art school in Germany. Like many other architects Mies van der Rohe understood the importance of using the right furniture, to compliment the building. That’s how Mies van der Rohe’s interest in architecture got him into furniture design.

The Barcelona Pavilion

In 1928 Mies was asked to design the German Pavillion for the International Exposition in Barcelona. This ended up being one of his two biggest European masterpieces. The building was used for the offical opening of the german part of the exposition.

The exterieur of the Pavilion

The exterieur of the Pavilion

The Pavilion is a very significant building in the history of modern architecture and is known for her simple shapes and the spectecular use of outrageous materials. The Spanish king was going to be welcomed in the Pavilion, so the interior had to be of royal quality. Many architects would think that, in comparison to the design of the Pavilion, the design of fitting furniture would be an easy job. Mies van der Rohe didn’t share this opinion.

The Barcelona Chair and its future

“The chair is a very difficult object. Everyone who has ever tried to make one knows that. There are endless possibilities and many problems – the chair has to be light, it has to be strong, it has to be comfortable. It is almost easier to build a skyscraper than a chair.”

In 1938 Mies van der Rohe moved to the United States where he became friends with a young student called Florence Schust. Later on she got married to Hans Knoll and 10 years after she met Mies van der Rohe she got the exclusive rights to produce the barcelona Chair collection.

Nowadays Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is seen as one of the most important people when it comes to modern architecture.