Barcelona Daybed in Cream Leather by Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe for Knoll Inc. / Knoll International, 2010 (2023)

About This Piece

Vintage Design

Mies van der Rohe. Barcelona daybed Cream leather for Knoll International.

with its low profile and clean lines, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s (1886–1969) Barcelona daybed (also known as the Pavilion daybed) wholly embodies the minimalist “form follows function” philosophy of the day. Mies codesigned the daybed as well as a chair by the same name, along with Lilly Reich (1885–1947), his longtime collaborator and wife, in 1929 as part of the German Pavilion (or “Barcelona Pavilion”) at the International Exposition in Barcelona, Spain. At the time, Mies was already established as a prominent German architect and had recently been named the director of the Bauhaus. His contribution to the exposition was a deliberate choice to reinforce Germany’s pre–World War II status as a progressive nation at the forefront of modern design.Although many other pavilions at the International Exposition were intended to serve as centres of knowledge and education, full of painting and sculpture to be admired and discussed, Mies saw the Barcelona Pavilion as a respite from the activity surrounding it — a useful building, staged with useful furniture, without pretext. In fact, royals, dignitaries, and other important government officials were set to visit the German Pavilion after the exposition’s inauguration for a party, which meant the furniture took centre stage as the group held court.While there’s no question of Mies’s authorship of the Barcelona daybed and chair, he wasn’t without help. Reich, a German furniture designer in her own right, is often overlooked and uncredited in Mies’s contributions to furniture design, even though it is believed that she assisted him for over 10 years on some of his signature designs.A year later, the American architect Philip Johnson asked Mies (and Reich) to design and furnish his Manhattan flat, thus introducing the Barcelona daybed stateside. Later, Johnson used the daybed when he built The Glass House, which is still located in New Canaan, Connecticut. Johnson''s structure is a classic of mid-century modern architecture and was inspired by Mies’s Farnsworth House, located in Plano, Illinois, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, angular silhouette and sparse interior. Of course, being low to the ground without a back and a single balustrade as an armrest, the daybed allows for uninterrupted views of both the interior and exterior of the space. Still in production by Knoll, the original manufacturer, the Barcelona daybed — with its tubular stainless-steel legs and African mahogany wood frame — remains an indelible symbol of mid-century modern design.

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CreatorLudwig Mies van der Rohe
ManufacturerKnoll Inc. / Knoll International
Design Period1950 to 1959
Production Period2010 to Present
Identifying MarksThis piece has been attributed based on archival documentation, such as vintage catalogs, designer records, or other literature sources
Detailed ConditionVery Good — This vintage/antique item has no defects, but it may show slight traces of use.
Restoration and Damage Details

Light wear consistent with age and use

Product CodeVJG-1609165
Width196 cm 77.2 inch
Depth98 cm 38.6 inch
Height65 cm 25.6 inch
Weight RangeStandard — Between 40kg and 80kg
Duties Notice Import duty is not included in the prices you see online. You may have to pay import duties upon receipt of your order.

Shipping & Delivery

Ships fromUnited Kingdom
Duties Notice Import duty is not included in the prices you see online. You may have to pay import duties upon receipt of your order.
ReturnsReturns accepted within two days of delivery, except for Made-to-order items


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Delivery Options

Front Door Delivery:
(Included in Every Order)
  • A skilled driver will unload the item(s) from the delivery truck and bring it to your building’s doorstep. You will be responsible for further transport beyond that point. We recommend asking a family member or friend for an extra hand; alternatively, you may upgrade to In-Home Delivery (see below).
  • The delivery partner will email and/or call you at least one day in advance to arrange a delivery time.
  • A wooden crate may be used for intercontinental shipments for maximum protection.
  • Item will be left in its packaging after delivery.
  • A signature will be required upon delivery.
In-Home Delivery:
(For in-home delivery service, additional fees apply. Please get in touch)
  • A skilled driver or a team of two will bring your item(s) inside your home and place it in the immediate entryway. For unusually large or heavy items, we recommend asking a family member or friend for an extra hand, as we cannot send more than 2 drivers.
  • The delivery partner will email and/or call you one day in advance to arrange a delivery time.
  • A wooden crate may be used for intercontinental shipments for maximum protection.
  • Item will be left in its packaging after delivery.
  • A signature will be required upon delivery.

*Important Note

Please examine every order upon delivery. In the event that there are visible signs of damage or missing or incorrect pieces, please indicate the problem on the Delivery Note and contact us within 48 hours of delivery. A signed delivery receipt without notations of missing, damaged, or incorrect item(s) represents your acceptance of the complete order in perfect condition.

About the Creator

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Barcelona Daybed in Cream Leather by Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe for Knoll Inc. / Knoll International, 2010 (1)

Modern architect and furniture designer Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born in Aachen, Germany in 1886. He attended the Domschule in Aachen until 1900 and then spent two years at a local trade school, while also working on building sites for his father, a master stonemason. From 1903 to 1904, he worked as a draughtsman and designer for a local firm specializing in stucco decoration. He moved to Berlin in 1905 and became an apprentice to Art Nouveau architect and designer Bruno Paul. An independent commission to design his first house came from philosopher Alois Riehl, who sent Mies to Italy for three months for inspiration. The Riehl House was completed in 1907 in Potsdam, south of Berlin and brought Mies to the attention of designer and architect Peter Behrens, for whom he worked between 1908 and 1912. He established his own architectural and design office in 1912 in Berlin and built three houses in the city before the outbreak of World War I. From 1915 to 1918, he served in the German Army’s Engineer Corps.

During the 1920s, Mies was active in Berlin’s avant-garde circles, participating in organizations like the Novembergruppe and Zehner Ring and contributing to the magazine G. He began studying and designing skyscrapers, which, while not built, portended future designs. He also directed the Weißenhofsiedlung exhibition in Stuttgart, a model housing colony project for which he invited the era’s most accomplished European architects to participate—including Walter Gropiusand Le Corbusier—and 20 permanent residential buildings were built around his own steel-framed apartments, revealing a series of individual interpretations of workers’ housing. This project introduced him to Lilly Reich and the pair collaborated frequently over the next decade. His other major project of this era was the German (or Barcelona) Pavilion, built for the German section of the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition, which helped establish him on an international stage. Using glass and marble interior walls that could be easily moved, he merged interior and exterior spaces, emphasizing a fluidity of space and incorporating specially designed furniture, including the iconic leather and chrome Barcelona chair. Shortly after, in 1932, his work was included in the first architectural exhibition at the Museum of Modern Artin New York, entitled Modern Architecture: An International Exhibition, which helped introduce his work to an American audience. From 1930 to 1933, he served as Director of the Bauhaus; under political pressure from the Nazis, he moved the school from Dessau to Steglitz, Berlin and ultimately closed the school in 1933.

In 1938, Mies moved to Chicago, re-established his architectural firm, and served as the Director of the Architecture Department of the Armour Institute for the next 20 years (it became the College of Architecture, Planning and Design at Illinois Institute of Technology in 1940). In the 1940s, he designed a new campus for the school, a project that further refined his steel-and-glass aesthetic. In 1944, he was naturalized as an American citizen and went on to design a number of notable buildings in the US, including, between 1945 and 1950, the famed Farnsworth House outside of Chicago. The radically minimalist home consists of an open-plan interior space with concrete roof and floor slabs, subdivided by partitions, and completely enclosed in glass. Mies also designed multiple high-rise buildings, such as Chicago’s 860–880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments (1951) and New York’s Seagram Building (1958), which embraced the notion that buildings should accommodate changing lifestyle requirements.

Mies van der Rohe was awarded, among other honors, the Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects (1959) and the US Presidential Medal of Freedom (1963). He passed away in Chicago in 1969 and is buried in Graceland Cemetery.

About the Maker

Knoll Inc. / Knoll International

Barcelona Daybed in Cream Leather by Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe for Knoll Inc. / Knoll International, 2010 (2)

Hans Knollwas born in 1914 in Stuttgart, Germany, into the successful manufacturing family behindEarly-20th-century Germany was an epicenter of modernist design theory—most notably expressed in the products and practices of the Deutscher Werkbund association of artists, architects, designers, and industrialists, as well as the influential Bauhaus school—which advocated for design rooted in the principles of rationality, functionalism, and mass production. This milieu had a profound influence on Hans and inspired him to produce furniture for the new age. In 1937, after a stint in London, he moved to the United States and brought his modernist vision with him.

Florence Knoll(neé Schust) was born in Saginaw, Michigan in 1917 and from an early age exhibited a strong interest in architecture. After graduating from the Kingswood School for Girls in 1934, she moved across campus to the newly formed, Bauhaus-inspired Cranbrook Academy of Art to study architecture under recent émigré, Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen. There she befriended future design luminariesCharles EamesandEero Saarinen. She went on to Columbia University’s School of Architecture to study town planning. In 1937, she apprenticed under former-Bauhaus professors Walter GropiusandMarcel Breuerin Cambridge, Massachusetts, and a few years later, enrolled at the Illinois Institute of Technology, where German architectLudwig Mies van der Rohebecame a life-long mentor to her.

In 1938, Hans Knoll established The Hans G. Knoll Furniture Company as a furniture exporter in a small space on East 72nd Street in New York City. As the company quickly grew, it evolved into a manufacturing business. In 1941, he opened his first plant in a former dance hall in East Greenville, Pennsylvania and hired Danish designer Jens Risom, who eventually helped him develop the first, original Knoll furniture designs. That same year, Hans met Florence on an interior design project and, recognizing her exceptional taste and eye, hired her to bring in business with architects and interior designers and, later, to provide in-house planning and interior design expertise for a growing corporate clientele. In 1946, Hans and Florence married and renamed the company Knoll Associates. That same year, the Knolls formally established the Planning Unit, solidifying the company’s role in the design of interior spaces. In 1951, Knoll Internationalwas launched as the German and French arms of Knoll, producing Knoll designs for the European market. Sadly, Hans died in a tragic car crash in 1955, but Florence remained actively involved until she retired in 1965.

Knoll’s signature pieces include Breuer’sWassily Chair(1925), Mies van der Rohe’sBarcelona Chair(1929/1948),Harry Bertoia’sDiamond Chair(1952), Eero Saarinen’sTulip Armchair(1957), as well as Florence‘s own furniture collection developed through the 1950s. Knoll’s impressive catalogue includes a who’s-who list of midcentury modern and contemporary design figures, including Jens Risom, Alexander Girard,George Nakashima,Isamu Noguchi, Richard Schultz, Warren Platner,Charles Pollock, Andrew Morrison & Bruce Hannah,Vignelli Associates, Richard Sapper, Maya Lin,Frank Gehry, and Rem Koolhaas. As of this writing, Knoll’s most recent collaboration is with David Adjaye, who designed theWashington Collectionfor Knoll and theAdjaye Collectionfor KnollTextiles. Today, the company is particularly focused on meeting the evolving needs of the 21st-century workplace.

In 2011, Knoll received the National Design Award for Corporate and Institutional Achievement from theCooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museumin New York. The award recognized Knoll’s legacy in American modern design and the company’s commitment to promoting the relationship between good design and quality of life. Knoll designs can be found in the permanent design collections of institutions around the world, including more than 30 acquired by New York’sMuseum of Modern Art.

* All images courtesyKnoll, Inc. The David Adjaye Skeleton Chair was photographed by Joshua McHugh.

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