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Marcel Breuer

Marcel Breuer (born 21. May 1902 in Pécs/Hungry; died 1. July 1981 in New York City/USA) belongs to the elite group of architects and designers who helped shape 20th century thinking on form, function and aesthetic. In 1920 Marcel Breuer began studying art in Vienna, a course he quickly gave up in order to begin a carpentry apprenticeship at Bahuas in Weimar. His talents were quickly acknowledged and in 1921 Breuer began working in the Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius's studio. After completing his training in 1924, Breuer was appointed Head of the Carpentry Workshop in 1925. In 1933 he fled from Nazi Germany, returning initially to his native Hungry before moving on to London and in 1937 the USA where he took up a teaching position at the Harvard university Graduate School of Design. Although initially a furniture designer, Breuer worked most of his professional life as an architect working on projects ranging from private houses over commercial properties and onto public buildings. Among Breuer's most famous works are the UNESCO Headqurters in Paris, the De Bijenkorf department store in Rotterdam and the Saint John's Abbey Church at the St. John's University in Collegeville, Minnesota. Perhaps his most ambitious project was the French ski resort of Flaine, which Breuer created in its entirety. Marcel Breuer's furniture designs are almost exclusively from his Bauhaus period, and in many ways can be considered defining pieces of the Bauhaus approach. His Model B3 Chair, popularly known as the Wassily Chair, is perhaps one of the best known and most instantly recognisable furniture pieces from the 1920s. It also counts among the most copied designs. Other important works by Marcel Breuer include his Cesca cantilever chair as well as his B55 and S 32 cantilever chairs and B 10 side table, all part of a series of tubular steel furniture created in the late 1920s.

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Yrjö Kukkapuro – Magic Room at Espoo Museum of Modern Art, EMMA

...Kukkapuro developing an ice hockey stick chair that is a very nice twist on the, in all probability apocryphal, story of Marcel Breuer being inspired by bicycle handle bars to employ steel tubing in furniture; an ice hockey stick chair that introduces, and very efficiently elucidates, various formal, aesthetic and constructional aspects that are of such importance in the Yrjö Kukkapuro oeuvre... Plexiglass which also features, alongside tubular steel, in a 1969 cantilever chair which takes up Marcel Breuer's vision of us one day sitting on a "resilient column of air"2, and not only allows one to approach that day via, as Breuer did, the inherent elasticity of the cantilever, but also to approach that day via the transparent seat shell, a conceit which means you are almost literally floating on air...

Chairs: Dieckmann! The Forgotten Bauhäusler Erich Dieckmann at Neuwerk 11, Halle

...In which context one of the more interesting comparisons one can frame Dieckmann in is that with Marcel Breuer: the two were fellow students in the Weimar carpentry workshop under Gropius; they shared responsibility for the majority of the furniture and interior design of the Haus am Horn show home presented at the 1923 Bauhaus exhibition; both had a hang in their furniture to a constructivist rationalisation; both passed their Gessel exam in 1924... A state of affairs which on the one hand, arguably, is related to the fact Breuer moved not only to Dessau but to America, and thus post-War when Bauhaus, largely the Dessau incarnation, was raised by the MoMA New York to its near mythical position in the pantheon of design, when all other inter-War German design schools were wiped in a single sweep from the narrative of furniture design (hi)story, when Bauhaus became the synonym for inter-War design in Germany, Marcel Breuer was very visible...

Eames Lighting Design... Or, A search for light in the Eames Universe...

...Wandering aimlessly through the digital Marcel Breuer Archive one afternoon, we stumbled across a letter dated July 25th 1950 from Peter M Fraser, one of Breuer's employees, to the Eames Office, enquiring about a lighting design by Charles and Ray that Breuer was interested in using in one of his architectural projects, and requesting... And brings us back to Marcel Breuer...

Anton Lorenz: From Avant-Garde to Industry @ Vitra Design Museum Schaudepot, Weil am Rhein

...Prior to his aforementioned acquaintance with Mies van der Rohe's cantilever chairs, Lorenz had seen works by Marcel Breuer in the office of Breuer's associate, business partner, and fellow Hungarian, Kálmán Lengyel, and subsequently not only joined the board of Breuer and Lengyel's Standard Möbel company but undertook experiments in his own workshop to further develop the technical, material, aspects of Breuer's work, experiments which, as he describes, were intended to bring the same resilience to Breuer's designs that he had felt in Mies's... Thonet, serving between 1933 and 1935 as, and somewhat logically, Head of Industrial Property Rights, before spending the second half of the 1930s in closed contact with the likes of Mies van der Rohe, Hans Luckhardt, Heinz Rasch, Lily Reich, László Moholy-Nagy and Marcel Breuer...

smow blog Design Calendar: June 1st 1932 - Mart Stam Awarded Artistic Copyright for the Cubic Cantilever Chair

...The story begins in Dessau in the mid 1920s and the development of tubular steel furniture, a process in which Marcel Breuer unquestionably played a major, if not the major, role... Aware of the commercial possibilities of the genre Marcel Breuer established in late 1926/early 1927 the company Standard-Möbel in Berlin with fellow Magyar Kálmán Lengyel, the first dedicated manufacturer of tubular steel furniture...

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