design language practice and theory 

updated:february 2004

the Wassily chair by Marcel Breuer


Breuers Wassily chair Marcel Breuer gave this chair from 1928 the name of his friend and teaching colleague Wassily Kandinsky.
A most elementary transparent form became possible in the age of massive grandfather armchairs. Visual lightness was achieved by this typical Breuer Bauhaus design of an easy chair in bent steel pipe. The black leather strips give it a touch of luxury. This armchair is an example of a so called minimax solution: the best use of the specific character of material and form of each element in order to obtain both light weight and maximum strength. Breuer distinguishes in fact between elements that best resist to compression, the tubular frame and those that best resist to traction, the leather strips. Examples of minimax solutions abound both in nature, like in bones, seeds or leaves, and in technical objects, like kites, dinghies and tents. 
Generally we find, even if we can not explain the reason, that the form of products that result from the application of the minimax criteria are esthetically very satisfying.
  The distribution of forces in structures is one of the arguments of bionics, the interdisciplinary science that studies materials and processes in nature with the intention to apply them in technical products and processes. I will dedicate in the future some pages to this argument. 

look at other modern easy chairs
want to know more about the Bauhaus and Breuer? look at the following links: 
back to Modern Classic Easy Chairs
Next page is about symbols in design
about the modular grid the meaning of colors in Rietvelds chair
back to the general analysis of Rietveld's chair



   andries van onck