Marcel Breuer was the first designer to use tubular steel in his furniture designs after becoming inspired by the construction of his own bicycle!
Considered the inventor of tubular steel furniture, the designer and architect Marcel Breuer is one of the most influential designers of the 20th century. Marcel Breuer was light years ahead of his time, as this year marks 100 years since the founding of the Bauhaus. The revolutionary German art and design school – which laid the foundations of Modernism.
To the average eye, this three table nesting table set looks light and breezy but lets take a closer look shall we? Click on the photo and use the magnifier. Move your cursor along the legs of this piece. Notice the smoothness of the joinery of this Marcel Breuer design? There are many design forces at play here. I love the surprise of the weight of these nesting tables. He used tubular steel–such a substantial add. Now couple that to the overall beauty and craftsmanship of Marcel Breuer and you’ve got yourself a quite a quality piece.
Born and raised in Hungary, Marcel Breuer studied at the Bauhaus where he went on to head the furniture workshop. During this period, he produced numerous tubular steel furniture pieces, including the legendary Wassily club chair that brought him international fame. With his furniture in aluminum and molded plywood in the 1930s, he continued to make design history until immigrating to the USA. First working as a professor at Harvard University, Breuer began a second, highly successful career as an architect. Owing a great deal to modernism, his buildings primarily single-family homes, university and office buildings as well as museums were internationally recognized in the 1950s and 1960s for their exemplary character.
The architect and designer Marcel Breuer was one the 20th century’s most influential and innovative adherents of modernism. A member of the Bauhaus faculty, Breuer — and other colleagues/architects:
- Walter Gropius
- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
- Laszlo Moholy-Nagy
- Josef Albers
- Gerrit Rietveld
Breuer’s most famous furniture pieces are those made of tubular steel, which include the Wassily chair — named after Wassily Kandinsky and recognizable for its leather-strap seating supports — and the caned Cesca chair. Breuer also made several notable designs in molded plywood, including a chaise and nesting table for the British firm Isokon and a student furniture suite commissioned in 1938 for a dormitory at Bryn Mawr College. Whether in metal or wood, Breuer’s design objects are elegant and adaptable examples of classic modernist design — useful and appropriate in any environment.
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