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Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe has masterpieces as the Cantilever chair, without hind legs, holding the weight in the two forelegs and its horizontal extension. Launched in 1927 it is still an important example of 20th century design. Also the Barcelona chair is a classic of modern furniture design of the 20th century created, along with its ottoman and side table, by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for the German pavilion for the International Exposition in Barcelona in 1929. These creations of Mies van der Rohe were used as thrones for the kings of Spain when they visited the pavilion. Originally the structure was made of polished stainless steel and the surfaces of the seat and back in leather pigskin, later adjusting the design for mass production.

Mies van der Rohe’s designs are characterized by harmonious proportions and elegant shapes, that become almost sculptural objects worthy of a gallery exhibition. The use of traditional and modern materials adjusted to their functional purpose and the combination of the structural frame and the seat as separate components show perfectly the conception that Mies had of the International Style.

Mies van der Rohe, works based on less is more

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was a German architect. He began working in his fathers workshop and later he collaborated with the studio of Bruno Paul and P. Behrens, where he met Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, with Frank Lloyd Wrights the greatest architects of the 20th century. Its beginnings were oriented towards neoclassical architecture but the work of H. P. Berlage changed his mind. After the First World War he adhered to various avant-garde movements and he began to carry out revolutionary projects, for instance the project for an office building in Friedrichstrasse in Berlin, which consists of two twenty-story towers connected by a central core for elevators and escalators.

He published the magazine G, in collaboration with Hans Richter, and he got in touch with some of the more advanced artists of the moment. In 1926 he began to carry out works of a certain size, as the Wold house in Guben, all brick, and Hermann Lange house in Krefeld. Also the monument to Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, destroyed by the Nazis. Thanks to these works, Mies van der Rohe became a renowned architect receiving official positions, as the experimental Weissenhof Siedlung housing complex for the Exhibition of 1927 Sttugart.

In 1929 came the consecration of Mies van der Rohe with the German Pavilion for the International Exhibition of Barcelona, considered the masterpiece of Mies van der Rohe and one of the most influential architectural works of the 20th century. His most admired qualities are the great simplicity and continuity of the spaces that seem to have no beginning or end.

Mies van der Rohe’s following works continued to be characterized by great simplicity and advanced use of new building materials (such as steel, concrete and glass), leaving almost naked structures and providing them with almost linear forms in which is hidden the creation of beauty.

After directing the Bauhaus, he emigrated to the United States where he was appointed director of the school of architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology Chicago for which he created a new campus with which he earned his fame in America. The finale of his career came with the famous Seagram Building in New York and the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin. With these works Mies van der Rohe opposed the horizontality of his European architecture to the predominant verticality of his American projects.

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