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My Little House Design: Design Icon: Mies van der Rohe

Monday, October 22, 2012

Design Icon: Mies van der Rohe

This weekend I went to Chicago with some friends so we could go on an architectural guided cruise down the Chicago River. We saw some amazing sights but one of my favorite things was to learn what buildings were designed by Mies van der Rohe. I know who he is for one reason only, this chair:


Recognize it? You have probably seen it in a million design images because it is a very popular chair to design with.

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So beautiful! Mies van der Rohe (pronounced meece van der row) lived until 1969 and is considered (along with my pal Frank Lloyd Wright) a master of modern architecture.


This is one of his buildings I saw this weekend. He is often credited with the phrase, "less is more." That aesthetic is clear in this stark black building. I think it is interesting that Mies van der Rohe was an architect and furniture designer. I guess a lot of the modern architectes were but that doesn't seem to be the case today, at least not that I know of.

Lately, I have been trying to teach myself about classic pieces of furniture and the Barcelona chair is one of my favorites. Unfortunately, I will probably never own one considering they are around $2,000-$4,000 (reproductions are around $400-$700), but I still enjoy looking at them. Here are some of his other famously recognizable pieces:

Barcelona Couch

Barcelona Table

Barcelona Chair and Ottoman

Brno Chair

MR Lounge Chair

Want the look for less?

Overstock.com sells this Mies van der Rohe inspired bench for $121.99 (I've had this in my 'shopping cart' for a year... I love it but I don't really need it).

A word about reproductions: I would happily accept any debate on this point but in my opinion reproductions and "inspired by" pieces like the bench above don't harm anyone. I appreciate design but there is no way I'll ever be able to afford a $2,000 chair. Reproductions are the only way I will ever be able to experience a famous designer's work. Any thoughts?

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