Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is one of the most important designers/architects in the history of design and one of my all-time favorites. Just his name, for those of you who already love design, says it all. However, if you don’t already know him, all you need is to see a picture of one of his works or products to understand who I’m talking about.
Mies van der Rohe, with other colleagues, created the “Modern Movement” and represented some of its most philosophical aspects. The “Modern Movement” was a period of time between the two world wars, in which architecture, urbanism, and design characteristics and principles were reinvented, adapting them to a period that was experiencing modernism.
However, let’s start from the beginning:
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born in March of 1886 in Aachen, Germany and died in August of 1969 in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
During his life, architecture and design were constant passions of his and there are many extraordinary pieces that this designer has left us with. His dedication for the subject began at an early age and was strengthened while he worked in professional studios as boy. When he was nineteen years old, he moved to Berlin, Germany.
In the beginning, he worked at the studio of Bruno Paul and after he began working in Peter Behrens’ studio, where he had the opportunity to work alongside Gropius and Le Corbusier. There is no need to emphasize the combination of those brilliant minds who found themselves face to face in those rooms!
In 1913, Mies van der Rohe opened his own studio in Berlin. There he began designing and writing for different magazines, becoming one of the main figures in the German Architecture field. This also allowed him to play a leading role among the teachers of the Bauhaus, the famous school of art, design, and modern architecture where Gropius, Klee, Kandinsky and many other famous names taught as well.
In the mid ‘30s, when the Nazi government declared that they were against the Bauhaus’ programs, Mies van der Rohe, at that time director of the school, was forced to close it and to leave Europe for the United States. He was already well known there and because of this, he became dean of the school of architecture, The Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago, where he shaped entire generations of young students.
His pieces mark the most advanced point of modernism in architecture. Some buildings, being particularly expressive of his poetry, now represent milestones in our modern understanding of architecture.
The main goal of Mies van der Rohe was to create new architecture that was free from the superstructure of the past.
His career was full of success and his poetry is still remembered today. He is remembered especially by two phrases that have become part of our everyday language. Do the sayings, “God is in the details” and “less is more” sound familiar? He was the first one to say both of them! ?
“Less is more” is a saying that I personally use often. It summarizes the philosophy of Mies van der Rohe, which is based on two fundamental concepts: order and rationality. To simplify is achieving clarity: aesthetic and intent. To simplify is the result of a knowledge process of one’s nature. To simplify leads to the pure form, which is the result of a rational path and has nothing to do with fantasy, but instead it is about the fact that choice after choice, we eventually come to the point where nothing can be added and nothing can be removed.
Simplification for Mies van der Rohe is not an end in itself and it is neither a style nor a language, but it deals with the reduction of the complexity of the reality phenomena to their essential quality. All of this intellectual processing led the designer to create classic lines, but modern at the same time. Timeless.
The purist philosophy can also be found in the work that fascinated me from the very beginning of my studies.
Mies van der Rohe is one of my favorite creators ever. I hope I have also explained that his works are, in my eyes, timeless, and their forms are able to embody perfection. To have inside your home even just a simple object of Mies van der Rohe immediately gives your house a timeless allure of beauty, culture, and history. Here are some examples!
the Barcelona chair and stool
the Barcelona couch
the Brno chair
the Barcelona table
the MR table
What do you think? As difficult as it is to choose, which one is your favorite product?
As a professional, I can tell you that: if you’re thinking about buying an important piece of design, these could be for you.
Simply because they are and will remain timeless icons.
If you are interested in buying some of these products, they are distributed by Knoll 😉