The No. B3 Chair or Wassily chair was designed by Marcel Breuer in 1925 while he was head of the carpentry workshop at the Bauhaus in Dessau, Germany. The design of the chair was revolutionary at the time for its use of steel pipes and its manufacturing method. Originally it was made of plated steel and subsequently of bent chrome. The seat and backrest are in leather, canvas or fabric.
Marcel Breuer and his Wassily chair, revolutionary for its time
Marcel Breuer born in Pecs, Hungary, and studied at the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany, where he absorbed the most important ideas of the modern movement. Later he took over the furniture workshop in the same school. There he designed No. B3 Chair, best known as Wassily. It combines flexible steel tube conditions and the ease for industrial scale production. This is the best known design and the first one using steel pipe in the history. Marcel Breuer’s chair is inspired by the curved steel tube of the Adler bike handlebar. Really it was not designed for the painter Wassily Kandinsky as thought. Kandinsky admired the model and Marcel Breuer when he finished it made a copy for him. For this reason, when the chair was relaunched in the sixties it has been given the name Wassily.
He continued in the Bauhaus to later devote himself to architecture once he established in Berlin, where he received his first architectural charge, a project for the Harnischmacher house and some furniture stores for Wohnbedarf. He was also in charge of the interior design for the German selection in the Société Artistes Décorateurs Français exhibition.
With the arrival of the Nazi party to power, being Jewish, Marcel Breuer was forced into exile in England and then in America. There he taught at the School of Architecture at Harvard University, while continuing with his architectural career.
He realized on his own the design of Geller I House, the first binuclear housing that separates the bedroom from the kitchen or dining room. Finally he opened his studio in New York and he projected with his partners the new UNESCO building in Paris. He adopted the cement as construction material and with it a new architectural language, brutalism, which is well exemplified in the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
Marcel Breuer’s Wassily chair remains today one of the most recognizable chairs 80 years later. This compones an elegant solution for either office or home furniture. Its frame consists of a continuous tube without joints which, when folded, circumscribes a cubic space.