Chair, model B32
Marcel Breuer (1902–1981)
Made by Gebrüder Thonet, Frankenberg
Chrome-plated tubular steel, bent solid beechwood, cane
82 x 47 x 57.5cm
Museum no. W.10–1989
Marcel Breuer designed this chair the year after Mart Stam and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe introduced their cantilevered designs to the public in 1927, though it apparently was not manufactured until about 1930. It was an innovative design in several respects. Breuer broke a convention that he himself had introduced: the use of a continuous tubular-steel frame behind the back. In this design he attached to the frame a seat and back made of wood and cane. This resulted in a more complex, more interesting design in which the textures of the natural materials contrasted markedly with the shiny steel frame. The use of cane would have been, for contemporaries, an unmistakable allusion to Thonet bentwood furniture, which had enjoyed renewed popularity among Modernist architects.