Long Chair

Reclining Chair
1936 (made)
Long Chair thumbnail 1
Long Chair thumbnail 2
+6
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Marcel Breuer (1902-1981) has been described as one of the most influential designers of the 20th century. He was an architect and furniture designer, working in both Europe and America. During a brief period in England, Breuer worked on private commissions and as a designer for the furniture manufacturer, Isokon.

The most important achievement of Breuer's two year union with Isokon was the Long Chair. In 1936 it cost over £6 and relatively few were made. Initially the seats were sent from Estonia and attached to London-made frames. Isokon would upholster the chair in fabric of the client's choice, but the loose cover on this example is a later replacement.

Although the chair's design derives from a Breuer aluminium chair of 1932-33, the use of plywood is influenced by the moulded furniture of Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. The British taste for Modernism favoured the soft curves and warm appearance of wood rather than the harsher aesthetic of metal furniture.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Parts
This object consists of 4 parts.

  • Reclining Chair
  • Squab Cushion
  • Loose Cover
  • Replacement Cushion
Materials and Techniques
Laminated birch frame, with bent plywood seat/back
Brief Description
Reclining 'Long' chair, des. Breuer, man. Isokon Furniture, 1936, London
Physical Description
Long, reclining chair with laminated birch frame, including arms, plywood continuous seat/back and long cushion with cover, that covers the length of both seat and back.
Dimensions
  • Height: 72cm
  • Width: 61.9cm
  • Length: 137cm
Style
Marks and Inscriptions
MADE IN ESTONIA (Stamped in centre of plywood seat at foot end.)
Gallery Label
'LONG CHAIR' Designed by Marcel Breuer (Hungarian, 1902-1981) Manufactured by Isokon Furniture Company, London Molded birch plywood with 'Zebrano' veneer, replacement upholstered cushion 1935-1936 Isokon was a company devoted to the production of modern furniture founded by the visionary modernist Jack Pritchard. Bauhaus emigres Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer were its Comptroller and designer respectively. Circ.83-1975(1989-2006)
Object history
Breuer's earliest version of the Long Chair utilized a mortise and tenon joint at the connection between the frame and the seat that became loose over a period of time from use. The second incarnation, as in this example, uses a n improved joint to connect the frame and seat providing greater stability.
Historical context
The most important achievement of Breuer's two year union with Isokon was the Long Chair. In 1936 it cost over £6 and relatively few were made. Initially the seats were sent from Estonia and attached to London-made frames. Isokon would upholster the chair in fabric of the client's choice but this loose cover is thought to be later.



Although the chair's design derives from a Breuer aluminium chair of 1932-33, the use of plywood is influenced by the moulded furniture of Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. The British taste for Modernism favoured the soft curves and warm appearance of wood rather than the harsher aesthetic of metal furniture.



[Gareth Williams, 'British Design at Home', p.117]
Summary
Marcel Breuer (1902-1981) has been described as one of the most influential designers of the 20th century. He was an architect and furniture designer, working in both Europe and America. During a brief period in England, Breuer worked on private commissions and as a designer for the furniture manufacturer, Isokon.



The most important achievement of Breuer's two year union with Isokon was the Long Chair. In 1936 it cost over £6 and relatively few were made. Initially the seats were sent from Estonia and attached to London-made frames. Isokon would upholster the chair in fabric of the client's choice, but the loose cover on this example is a later replacement.



Although the chair's design derives from a Breuer aluminium chair of 1932-33, the use of plywood is influenced by the moulded furniture of Finnish architect Alvar Aalto. The British taste for Modernism favoured the soft curves and warm appearance of wood rather than the harsher aesthetic of metal furniture.
Associated Objects
Bibliographic Reference
British Design since 1880, Fiona MacCarthy, Lund Humphries, 1982.
Collection
Accession Number
CIRC.83:1 to 3-1975

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record createdFebruary 7, 2000
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