Mid-century Mies van der Rohe MR Armchair c.1970s
A Ludwig Mies van der Rohe MR cantilever armchair. This armchair is made of tubular chrome and black natural leather with painted wooden armrests.
CREATOR Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
DATE OF MANUFACTURE c.1970s.
MATERIALS & TECHNIQUES Chrome, Leather, Wood.
CONDITION Good. Wear consistent with age and use. Minor blemishes on the leather and chrome.
DIMENSIONS H 32.5 in. x W 22.5 in. x D 34 in. Seat Height 16 in.
The architect and designer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is one of the best-known exponents of International Style modernism. His “less-is-more” philosophy has become a catchphrase for much twentieth-century design, though a preference for luxurious and costly materials often underscores the deceptive simplicity of his elegant and refined designs.
Mies van der Rohe was the last director of the Bauhaus design school in Dessau, from 1930 until its closing in 1932. In 1938 he left Germany for America, where he headed the architecture department at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
The graceful, elegant, and beautifully proportioned “MR” armchair, developed from a 1924 design for a cantilevered chair by Mart Stam, was introduced by Mies van der Rohe at the 1927 Stuttgart exhibition and has remained in production ever since. The chair’s cantilevered design uses tubular steel, then a technological novelty, to create an intuitively accessible and ergonomic seat. (When asked why he created chairs with generously sized seats, Mies van der Rohe allegedly replied that he designs chairs he’d be most comfortable sitting in.) The MR Armchair is perfectly balanced, featuring the material innovation and lack of ornamentation that epitomize the International Style. It was awarded the Museum of Modern Art Award in 1977 and the Design Center Stuttgart Award in 1978.
In 1968 the Knoll group took the license to manufacture these chairs but both before 1968 and afterwards many factories have in fact produced these iconic pieces.