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Look inside Wright's Laura Gale house in Oak Park
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 13772
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 9:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My source, "Contemporary Classics" (McGraw-Hill or Whitney Library, 1981; 1990) has these dimensions for the Barcelona Chair:

30" W, 30" D, 30" H, seat height 17". The metric equivalents given are 762 mm and 430 mm. It would thus appear that the chair was designed for the English or American market -- originally ? Doesn't compute . . .

The matching ottoman is 23" x 22" x 14 1/2". "The face of the original cushions consisted of one rectangular piece of pigskin which was buttoned and tufted. This feature was reworked for the Tugendhat residence the following year, when twenty pieces of leather were sewn together with welting and biscuit-tufting. The stuffing, originally specified to be traditional cotton, horsehair, and burlap, was later changed to the more durable foam rubber. Initially, chrome-plated flat-bar steel was used, although in the United States production, it has been replaced with more durable polished stainless steel. The steel sections of the frame were welded to form flawless connections best exemplified by the intersection of the leg. This joinery, the hand-polished finish, and the detailed, exacting work in leather accounted for the high cost of production."


I'm surprised also to hear that the average home-owner is at constant risk of home invasion. I thought we were more civilized than that . . .?

SDR
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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5276
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Thu May 18, 2017 11:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's Knoll's timeline and essay by Peter Jefferson (from Wright Auctions in Chicago). In 1931 Bamberg made the lap-jointed chair with the one square meter dimension Roderick refers to. One meter is approximately 39 inches.

http://www.knoll-int.com/design-deconstructed-barcelona-chair

Another early example, but much smaller, under 30".

http://www.christies.com/lotfinder/Lot/a-chromed-steel-and-leather-barcelona-chair-1460082-details.aspx/

Bamberg Metalkwerkstaetten Berlin Neukoeln, circa 1931
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 13772
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Under 30" -- by one-quarter of an inch.

The larger version seems to be shown in one overhead photo, making it impossible to judge the proportions; enlarging all outside dimensions by 9" would raise the seat by more than four inches, seemingly making it virtually useless as a lounge chair. The proportions must have been altered ?

That photo shows nine seat straps. All other versions shown have eight straps -- with the exception of the Knoll photo of two chairs with female model. Note too that those chairs, Knoll's first, have a noticeably smaller joint knuckle, as does the Jerry Griffith version immediately following. (Note also the exaggerated chair width in the photo; photo-play, or . . . ?) This feature disappears afterwards; I suspect that it affected the structural integrity of that highly-stressed joint. That anyone would consider this same design in aluminum boggles the mind, for the same reason . . .

It's useful to see the hidden assembly joint; I had not been aware of it before. I assume all chairs are made thus ?

SDR
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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5276
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The dimensions of these chairs vary wildly when documented by auction houses and vintage dealers, mostly due to how they are measured. The frame dimensions are smaller than with the cushions. And cushions with age change shape and size slightly. My Knoll pair from the 1970s are 30 1/4" wide, 30 1/4" deep, 30 1/4" tall measured with cushions.

My measurements of the the frame minus cushions are more like 29 5/16" wide, 29 5/16", 30 1/4" deep.

Nine straps for the seat, eight for the back; the back straps are placed in between the seat straps.

Photos coming shortly...


Last edited by peterm on Fri May 19, 2017 10:20 am; edited 1 time in total
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 13772
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 10:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote



Peter's chairs comfortably at home in a Mies-designed residential tower. Is that a stone-tiled floor ?

Mies van der Rohe and Mr Wright were friends, each with high regard for the other. This piece from the Trib tells only half the story . . .

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/politics/chi-chicagodays-ludwigmies-story-story.html

According to Wright, in "A Testament" (p 85), the banquet in honor of Mies took place shortly before he was to be "inducted at Armour." After long, boring, and (to Wright, hypocritical) words by others, Wright made a very brief introduction. ". . .when his turn finally came I put my arm around his shoulders, led him to the podium and said, 'Ladies and Gentlemen -- Mies van der Rohe ! Treat him well. He will reward you. He will now address you. He is worthy of any support you can give him. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Mies van der Rohe.' " And the speech Mies gave, in German, was full of praise for Wright -- but the A.I.A. failed to provide a translation, so all the audience that night -- or ever after -- heard and understood was A.I.A. president Woltersdorf's brief words preceding the speech: "Ladies and gentlement, Mr van der Rohe says he is so sorry that Mr Frank Lloyd Wright left so early."

SDR
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 13772
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 10:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Additional images:










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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5276
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SDR wrote:
My source, "Contemporary Classics" (McGraw-Hill or Whitney Library, 1981; 1990) has these dimensions for the Barcelona Chair:

30" W, 30" D, 30" H, seat height 17".
SDR


Generally, furniture dimensions have become larger with the increased girth of the American population. In the case of the Barcelona chair, they have become smaller over the years. I notice this when I see the new Knoll chairs with the etched inscription and signature. The frame of mine from 1976 is definitely larger than 30".

As for the friendship between Mies and Wright: It deteriorated drastically, partially due to Elizabeth Gordon's scathing review of the threatening Farnsworth house. Wright didn't like the competition, and as Mies' American career blossomed and he became more obsessed with Baukunst and less with spatial complexity, their aesthetics drifted apart as well as any remaining friendship.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 13772
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Fri May 19, 2017 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No source of measurements save Peter's distinguish between "with cushions" and "without." At 30 1/2" all for "with," his chairs seem right in keeping with the original dimensions given in my book . . .or at least close enough to count.

The notable point in both instances, as I see it, is that the chair occupies a cube of space. While invisible to virtually any viewer, this fact comports with a design ideology many architects -- including Wright -- would recognize, I think.

Most of the chair dimensions found online -- virtually all of them knock-offs of the original -- vary considerably both from the original numbers and from a "square" (cubic) numerical constant -- another point in their disfavor.

SDR
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