Knoll School: The Barcelona Chair

Barcelona Chair bauhaus

Is it the real deal?

Which would you prefer: The original or a reproduction (a.k.a. “a knock off”). When something is done well, designed with such beauty and precision, it becomes an easily recognized favorite. Therefore, it is only a matter of time before replicas begin cropping up on the market.

The Knoll Barcelona® Chair is a prime example. According to the Knoll, the manufacturer of this iconic chair, “one of the most recognized objects of the last century, an icon of the modern movement.” Designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for the king and queen of Spain (although it’s rumored they never actually sat in it), the Barcelona Chair has inspired numerous “copy cats.” Today, the Barcelona-style chair is typical corporate lobby furniture.

But how do you know if you’re looking at a true Knoll Barcelona Chair? A look at key design features of the chair will tell you if the piece you are looking at holds the trademark of Mies, or if it is simply a reproduction.

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3926_mThe Back Cushion
The back cushion is slightly taller than the steel frame and angles with the curvature of the frame. Cushions are made of premium quality, highly resilient urethane foam with down-like Dacron polyester fiberfill.



3930_mThe Upholstery
Two distinct, separate cushions that are fully upholstered with 40 individual panels that are cut, hand-welted, and hand-tufted with 24 leather buttons. The leather comes from a single, large cowhide.



3929_mThe Frame
The original design used chrome finishing for the frame. In 1950, Mies changed the specifications to incorporate TIG (tungsten-electrode inert gas) welding. Today, the stainless steel version is the new “original.”



3928_mThe Bar Stock
The frame is made of premium grade 304 bar stock stainless steel that is hand-buffed to a mirror finish. The KnollStudio logo and Mies’ signature are stamped into the leg.



3931_mThe Fasteners
Seventeen straps made of belting leather and do not include buckles. Straps are attached with aluminum rivets that are concealed when cushions are in place.

With numerous reproductions available, why pay for the real thing? It’s simple — you pay for superior design and quality. The superior quality of Knoll’s Barcelona ensures your chair will last for generations to come.

For more Barcelona inspiration, check out our
Spotted Barcelona Pinterest board.