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A Toast to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: Happy 126th Birthday!

Born in Aachen, Germany in 1886, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe began his journey setting out to defy the unwritten rules of architecture and design. Now, some 126 years later, the world pays tribute to a man whose International Style influence became what experts refer to as the impetus of mid-century modernism.

Celebrating 126 Years of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Designs

Working alongside Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Hans Meyer, and Peter Grossman, the legendary Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) wasn’t always the prodigal mastermind. Mies, as he’s most often called, grew up learning about design from his father’s stone-carving shop. Only after honing his talent as an architect at several design firms before moving to Berlin to join Peter Behren’s firm in 1908 and later go onto lay his foundation in the early 1920s with the glass surface designs of an office building and skyscraper in Berlin.

Barcelona® chair. Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Manufactured by Knoll.

MR Lounge Collection. Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Manufactured by Knoll.

MR Lounge Collection. Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Manufactured by Knoll.

In 1930, Mies van der Rohe designed the mid-century modern classic furniture piece we know as the Barcelona® chair for Knoll. Since its design hit shelves, a steady stream of knock-offs have also sold like hotcakes. Although a copied creation is said to be a form of flattery, the original designs are labeled with a KnollStudio logo and a Ludwig Mies van der Rohe signature stamped into the base.

MR Table. Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Manufactured by Knoll.”

MR Table. Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Manufactured by Knoll.

Additionally, the rights to the MR Lounge collection were exclusively given to Knoll by Mies in 1953. The collection includes a standard and adjustable chaise lounge and side chairs with or without arms, and matches the MR Table counterpart. Also with the signature and logo stamped to their bases, the MR Lounge collection received the Museum of Modern Art Award in 1977 and the Design Center Stuttgart Award in 1978.

Along with numerous other furniture designs, Mies created significant projects in the U.S. during his 31 years of residence in Chicago: the Seagram Building in New York, the residential towers of 860–880 Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, the Chicago Federal Center complex, the Farnsworth House, Crown Hall and other structures at Illinois Institute of Technology.

That said, and on behalf of our 3Rings staff of modern design fanatics, we wish the cherished Mies van der Rohe a very happy 126th birthday!

Posted March 27th, 2012 by Sonja Hall


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