The Model B3 was designed by Marcel Breuer while he was head of the cabinet-making workshop at the Bauhaus in 1920s Germany. The design stripped back the classic club armchair to it’s essential lines and planes to form what has become one of the most recognisable modernist icons. The Wassily Chair reached new heights in popularity during the decadent postmodern 1980s. Aspiring trendsetters keen for the ultra-glam style fell in love with the black and chrome colour scheme.
The chair later known as the “Wassily” was first manufactured in the late 1920s by Thonet, the German-Austrian furniture manufacturer most known for its bent-wood chair designs, under the name Model B3. It was first available in both a folding and a non-folding version. In this early iteration, the straps were made of fabric, pulled taut on the reverse side with the use of springs. The fabric used was made from eisengarn, a strong, shiny, waxed-cotton thread. It had been invented in the 19th century, but Margaretha Reichardt, a student at the Bauhaus weaving workshop, experimented and improved the quality of the thread and developed cloth and strapping material for use on Breuer’s tubular-steel chairs. The Thonet produced version of the chair is most rare, and went out of production during World War II.
This chair was revolutionary in the use of the materials (bent tubular steel and eisengarn) and methods of manufacturing. In 1925 Breuer purchased his first bicycle and he was impressed with the lightness of its tubular steel frame. This inspired him to experiment with using the material in furniture design. The design (and all subsequent steel tubing furniture) was technologically feasible only because the German steel manufacturer Mannesmann had recently perfected a process for making seamless steel tubing. Previously, steel tubing had a welded seam, which would collapse when the tubing was bent.
W78 x D65 x H75cm (Seat Height 41cm)