Marcel Breuer

Revolution of sitting: floating and flying

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.

Product info

B40: True to the original and with license.
How can you recognize the original Bauhaus reeditions from Tecta? The Bauhaus Archive in Berlin only approves true-to-work and licensed reeditions of the original Bauhaus models. These are marked with Oskar Schlemmer’s signet, which he designed for the Weimar State Bauhaus in 1922. Even today, our Bauhaus models are based exactly on the proportions of the originals.

Colourful is my favourite colour*

Tradition-conscious and at the same time uncompromisingly modern: the Tecta X OPEN Edition color designs based on the compositions of Bauhaus artist Anni Albers.

She was a pioneering artist of abstract modernism, created textiles that unfolded architectural qualities, combined colors that resulted in a large collection of picture weavings, wall hangings and architectural fabrics: Anni Albers (1899-1994), artist, Bauhaus teacher, reinventor of weaving practice, led textile art forward. „To let threads articulate again and find a form for themselves, for no other purpose than their own orchestration, not to sit on, walk on, just to look at.“ this is how Anni Albers, who incidentally was friends with composer John Cage, viewed what she did. Albers played with the threads of her loom, just as Cage experimented on his piano and in the orchestra.

The artist maintained a close relationship with her materials, tradition-conscious and uncompromisingly modern, her textile fabrics took on a relationship with the architectural features of their surroundings. They were rediscovered for the new Tecta X OPEN collection.

„The Bauhäusler worked very colorful, that few people know,“ says Tobias Groß from the Studio für Gestaltung in Cologne. Thinking Anni Alber‘s color composition further, transferring them to wheels and furniture, was an exciting moment for him and designer Dominik Kirgus. „With the Bauhaus furniture, we are entering an interesting field for this purpose; its forms are calm, classic, reduced and thus open to new color impulses,“ says Tobias Groß.

Dominik Kirgus from the Studio für Gestaltung selected four Tecta furniture classics to apply the color scheme he designed for the frames of the OPEN wheels to furniture as well. Radiant impulses like the collection in blue/yellow, which give new impetus to the classic F51 by Walter Gropius, the B40 by Marcel Breuer or the D9 by Wolfgang Hartauer. If with them the furniture becomes a statement in the room, there are also the calmer, harmonious turquoise tones of the F51, D40 or B40, which tend to blend in. Also standing on their own are the Bauhaus classics in black and expressive pink. Following Anni Albers‘ example, the colors here also play with the architecture of the furniture – for example, the F51, whose geometric wooden frame in pink with a black fabric by Kvadrat creates an exciting interplay of surfaces. This is how the small, fine edition was created as a tribute to Anni Albers. Tradition-conscious and uncompromisingly modern – just like the weaver‘s designs, which were ahead of their time and even then reflected the entire architectural range of textiles. At the same time, Tecta makes clear what distinguishes its own manufactory: producing individual ideas in small editions that are already tomorrow‘s classics.

Perfection of construction and detail. Of course, the first thing we associate with Bauhaus master Marcel Breuer is one material: tubular steel. And one principle: the cantilever chair, which sparked modern furniture design. “Humankind was freed from the tethers of rigid sitting to enjoy the freedom of the floating seat. The cantilever chair was a symbol of its time.” But this does not really do justice to Marcel Lajos (“Lajkó”) Breuer (1902-1981). What he really pursued was research into the essence of objects: what should, what can a modern piece of furniture do today, was the Bauhaus question.

In 1925, Breuer became head of the furniture workshop in Dessau as a “junior master”. The year before, he had already postulated his definition of contemporary furniture. Although he attached great importance to details, Breuer favoured the precision of thinking over formal aspects. “There is the perfection of construction and detail, along with and in contrast to simplicity and generosity in form and use,” he wrote in an essay outlining his philosophy.

His role in popularising tubular steel for furniture design may also be due to his being one of the first to realise how dynamic our lives had become, demanding equally light and flexible solutions. The cycling enthusiast also embraced the latest trends in architecture, industry and design for a new zeitgeist. “I have specifically chosen metal for these pieces of furniture to achieve the characteristics of modern spatial elements,” explained Breuer. “The heavy upholstery of a comfortable armchair has been replaced by tightly stretched fabric surfaces and a few lightweight springy cylindrical brackets.”

In addition, the construction was no longer hidden, but flashing chrome became a visible part of the design. Cantilever chairs were bolted, not welded, functions stacked and colour-coded. The result was a dematerialised floating appearance and a new spirit of space. The cantilever chair meant a liberation from the thousand-year-old model of rigid throne-like sitting. It was the implementation of the functional, kinetic and constructive counter-principle. This kinetic line, the dawn of the modern era, can still be traced to the young Bauhaus designers today.