860 Lake Shore Drive

Powell first saw the Georgia sofa in the mid-1960s, when he, along with a group from SOM, attended the groundbreaking of Mies van der Rohe’s National Gallery in Berlin. Some of the group (including Powell) joined Mies on a visit to a warehouse he had maintained in Germany since his departure in the 1930s that housed many of his prototype designs. Later, Powell found drawings of this sofa among those made by his SOM colleague William Dunlap, who, as one of Mies’ first employees, was tasked with making measured drawings of every one of Mies’ furniture designs.

Powell/Kleinschmidt sourced the undyed Moroccan wool upholstery from Margit Pinter, an importer who had worked extensively with SOM in the 1960s. The natural oils in the wool make it remarkably soil-resistant, and it remains in pristine condition after 30 years of use.

Image courtesy of Jon Miller (c) Hedrich Blessing

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is one of the most celebrated modernist architects of the twentieth century, known for developing the International Style in Germany and abroad, which emphasized function, balance, clean lines and the use of glass and steel.

Mies van der Rohe was born in 1886 in Aachen, Germany, a center of heavy industry. His father was a stonecutter and Mies, who was never formally trained in architecture, often worked with his father, developing his exceptional sensitivity to materials at a young age. At 15, he apprenticed with several architectural firms in Aachen, and in 1905 he moved to Berlin to work for architect and furniture designer Bruno Paul. He received his first independent commission in 1907, the Riehl House in Postdam, and it caught the attention of Peter Behrens, the most progressive architect of the era. Mies joined the firm, where he met Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius, who were also working under Behrens. From 1915 to 1918, he served in the war and, upon returning to Berlin, became involved in the very active artistic scene of the 1920s, when Bauhaus De Stijl and Expressionism were all emerging. In 1924, Mies met Lilly Reich, whom he collaborated and was involved with for many years; together, they designed the Barcelona chair, which debuted at the Mies-designed Germany pavilion for the World’s Fair in 1929 and is now regarded as one of the most iconic designs of the modern era.

Auction Results Ludwig Mies van der Rohe