Modern Design /03 October 2004

412

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Tugendhat armchairs for the Seagram Building, New York
Knoll
Germany, 1928/1954
stainless steel, leather
28 w × 26 d × 36 h in (71 × 66 × 91 cm)

The Tugendhat chair was originally designed in 1928 for the Fritz and Grete Tugendhat residence in Brno, Czech Republic. The chairs offered here were made for the Seagram Building in New York City, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson in 1954. The building was erected as the headquarters of Joseph E. Seagram and Sons whose president, Samuel Bronfman, felt that as a large company they had a civic responsibility to promote new architectural projects in New York. It was Mies' first major office building commission and was radical in its day for its inclusion of open space in the design. The building is set back 90 feet from Park Avenue, creating an expansive plaza in the middle of the city. This quality was so remarkable that in 1961 New York City changed its zoning regulations to encourage similar designs. The building has more than 80,000 square feet of office space with an exterior notable for its tinted glass and bronze I-beams.

provenance: Seagram Corporation, New York | Private collection

estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $19,200

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Ludwig Mies van der Rohe 1886–1969

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was one of the most prominent modernist architects of the twentieth century, known for his pure creations of architectural form. Mies van der Rohe was born in 1886, in Aachen, Germany. His father was a stone mason, and as a child, Mies was fascinated by the rich materials his father used to build. In 1909, despite a lack of formal training, Mies moved to Berlin to work for an architect. He showed such promise that famed architect, Peter Behrens hired Mies to work at his firm. Mies soon joined the Deutscher Werkbund, a movement that sought to work in the style of William Morris and the Arts & Crafts movement through the creation of objects and buildings that were both functional and useful.

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