~ Design & Technology ~
Designers and Designing
Designers take inspiration from things they see and things they know and as Marcel Breuer was an architect he was familiar with the materials used in the construction of buildings. He was also aware of products and articles that he possessed and saw around him - one of which was his bicycle - and which of course uses tubular steel for the frame. His best known chair designs use tubular steel - a material that had not generally been used in furniture design and would have been quite radical in being used for that purpose, at that time.
Cantilevers are a feature of a number of architectural designs and it is not surprising that Breuer would use those principles in designs for chairs - and indeed other structures that he designed
and in his most famous creation - the B4 Chair, architectural traits can clearly be seen. His first designs of the concept for the chair did not immediately gain the attention and support of manufacturers and Breuer enlisted the help of a plumber to make the framework from tubing. The commercial design was produced by Thonet who had a significant reputation for ‘bentwood’ chairs - a technique
Breuer’s B35 chair - 1935
To convince yourself just how innovative the Breuer designs were for the time look at this short video that also shows some designs created by others more recently
Breuer B4 - “Wassily” Chair