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Iconic but yet as ethereal as if Marcel Breuer had made it by magic. Nonetheless, the B40 chair was born out of a new design idea: Breuer simply rotated his Bauhaus stool by 90 degrees to create it. The resulting B40 became the epitome of Bauhaus modernism, which revolted against heavy furniture and all that was bulky. The catalogue of Breuer’s “Standard Möbel” furniture company describes it as follows: “Fabric-covered tubular steel furniture offers all the comfort of well-upholstered furnishings without their weight, expense, cumbersome bulk and unhygienic qualities.”
It’s well worth letting your eyes roam and take a closer look at the fine connections between the steel tubes. El Lissitzky said: “Only inventions will determine form creation.” These inventions lay firstly in using the elastic properties of steel and tube bending, and later in flattening the tube for greater resilience. Two essential factors for the development of the cantilever chair based on a new spirit of the times: floating and flying.
The B40 therefore stands out for the details that transform its cubic shape into elegance. A geometry that follows the body. The backrest is slightly inclined to support the lower back, ending in an arch that makes the chair easy to transport. Perhaps unnecessary in terms of design, the double struts on the front are aesthetically pleasing and provide added stability, creating a rhythmic accent, as if Breuer had been making crystalline music – and not a highly versatile chair.
Marcel Breuer (1902-1981) opened up completely new avenues for the furniture industry with his brilliant idea of applying the principles of lightweight bicycle construction to furniture design. “My flight of fancy – which came to me whilst cycling in a train of thought that led from the handlebars of my bicycle to the engineering of tubular steel furniture – quite unexpectedly spread across the globe,” wrote Marcel Breuer in 1937. His tubular steel furniture became the epitome of elegance and lightness in a world facing major changes – which thus resembles ours in many ways. The B40 allows us to physically experience this moment in time.
The Bauhaus Archive in Berlin has officially licensed the B40 from Tecta as an authentic Bauhaus production, made to the exact proportions of the original design.
- Marcel Breuer, Hungray c.1926
- Nickel-Plated Steel frame with creme white leather (category 1.) straps
- Made in Germany
- Height 88cm / 34.6"
- Depth 57cm / 22.4"
- Width 45cm / 17.7"
- Seat Height 47cm / 18.5"
- Notes Nickel-Plated Steel will slightly patina over time. Includes plastic and felt glides.