Is the Barcelona Collection Mid Century Modern Style?

One recurring question of the Barcelona Collection has to do with the correct style label of this masterwork. As a general comment, always is assumed that the Barcelona Collection is a Mid Century Modern piece. But from time to time, some doubts may emerge. The Barcelona Collection was released in 1929. Is it really Modernism? Art Noveau?.

What was the Barcelona Collection? Formed by the iconic Barcelona Chair; and the Barcelona Sofa, Loveseat, Ottoman, Table and Benches, the Barcelona Collection was an authentic breakthrough in the world of design back in 1929.

All the elements of the Barcelona Collection have the same concept: An “X” chromed stainless steel frame that gives the Barcelona Chair this characteristic shape, stylish and sleek. It’s comfortable squared leather cushion, as soft as elegant, is replicated in the rest of the pieces, keeping the beauty and sense of sobriety of the Chair.

Who created the Barcelona Collection?

The Barcelona Collection was created by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. One of the pioneers of Modernism and the Mid Century Modern, van der Rohe has in its pocket creations like the Barcelona Chair and the Barcelona Daybed, all part of the Barcelona Collection. Architect of definitive works of the modern urban landscape of Chicago, like the Seagram Buiding and the IBM Plaza, van der Rohe coined several quotes that had a profound impact in the Architecture and reached even the popular mainstream, like “Less is more” or “God is in the details”. Born in what was prior known as Aquisgran, Prusiam in 1886, he died in Chicago Illinois as an American Citizen with a brand new name.

What is exactly Mid Century Modern?

What we now call Mid Century Modern was a movement originated in the 1950s and 1960s, after the end of the WWII, in the society that emerged after the war, especially in America, that was recovering at a fast pace. More and more Americans were looking for new homes, and these homes had to be built quickly.

Coincidentally the devastation of war and the end of the Bauhaus era brought many Europeans Architects and Designers to America. This European figures, some of them outstanding renovators of Architecture and Design, were at the core of the Mid Century Modern trend. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the creator of the Barcelona Collection in 1929, was among them, when settled in Chicago since the end of the 1940s, and developed a revolutionary work in the field of Architecture. Van der Rohe was, by the way, the last Director of the Bauhaus before its definitive closing.

Among van der Rohe, there are several great names associated with Mid Century Modern too. Le Corbusier; Charles and Roy Eames; Eero Saarinen, George Nelson, and Isamu Noguchi are a few names. And in the meantime, related trends, like Scandinavian Style were developing, with figures like

Arne Jacobsen that are sometimes considered as part of Mid Century Modern, too.

Why are we using the term “Mid Century Modern”?

Actually, while today the term Mid Century Modern is widely recognized all over the world, this wasn’t the case in the 1950s when the main figures of Interior Design and Architecture see themselves as modernists or renovators.

The current label appeared very much later. It was in 1983 when the author Cara Greenberg publishes its title: Mid-Century Modern: Furniture of the 1950s, that the term started to be used and gained increasing popularity. In the decade of the 1990s, scholars took interest in MCM, and it grew steadily until MCM became a popular trend again at the end of the 1990s. 

How does Mid Century Modern look?

Mid Century Modern is characterized by a classic, sober, and understated look, of clean lines with minimal fuss and ornaments. Functionality is important, as form follows function. According to the words of Le Corbusier, furniture must be like extensions of the human limbs. 

Uncluttered and sleek lines with both organic and geometric forms minimal ornamentation, always following function, An exploration of different traditional as well as non-traditional materials; This means to abandon the search of exotic, expensive materials, and replace them for industrial sources, affordable and sustainable. The juxtaposition of different, and sometimes contrasting materials (plastic fibers and leather, for example, or wood and steel)
And beyond the aesthetic element, the sustainable request is always present. Mid Century Modern brings the American home a furniture choice equal for every family; affordable and pleasant for everyone, due to its enthusiasm for new materials and industrial procedures.

Does the Barcelona Collection look Mid Century Modern? 
It does. In spite of being released quite early in 1929, as part of the European Modernism back then, the Barcelona Collection shared all the features and principles that made so widely recognized MCM since the 1960s.

  1. Functionality over design. The whole design of the Barcelona Collection is sober, clean-cut, and sleek without resigning to show its elegant and sophisticated silhouette. 
  2. Minimal ornament. An element of hard confrontation with the classical order, where ornaments were considered an important aspect of any design. The Barcelona Collection doesn’t have ornaments per se. It sticks to its functional design. 
  3. Experimental materials. The criteria to choose good materials whether for a building or a piece of furniture has to be its convenience, cost, and beauty, in that order, and not otherwise. Without leaving aside quality, the Materials used by the Barcelona Collection are are thee classic elements of Mid Century Modern Style: Leather, Steel, Fiber plastics, and polymers. 

Don’t miss the opportunity to have an experience of high-class furniture. Barcelona Designs is the leading store of replicas for Mid Century Modern Style, like the Barcelona Daybed and so much more.