In specially designed furniture – co-designed by Mies

1929, the year in which the United States experienced the most devastating
stock market crash in history, and the first public demonstration of colour
television was carried out in New York, we witnessed a radically new
architectural concept of space – presented to us by Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe in
the international exposition held in Barcelona, Spain.

27th March 1886, the German-American architect was regarded as a
pioneer of modernist architecture following his design of Barcelona pavilion –
the German pavilion for the 1929 International exposition. Following WW1, the
German economy began to recover around the mid 1920’s, providing the project
with momentum, however, with only a year to design the pavilion Mies was still
under great pressure. Known for its simple form and remarkable use of
extravagant materials such as travertine, marble and red onyx, the pavilion was
bare, featuring no exhibits, leaving only the structure accompanying a single
sculpture and specially designed furniture – co-designed by Mies himself. The
same features of modernism and minimalism are coherently seen in the
prestigious furniture, such as the iconic Barcelona chair, enabling fluency in
the style and architectural language of the building. He pursued to construct a
new architectural style that could represent modern times just as gothic and
classical did for their own periods.

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pavilion was influenced by and intended to symbolise the new Weimar Germany:
culturally progressive, prospering and democratic; aimed to be a self-portrait
through architecture. The buildings purpose was to, “in the words of the
commissioner, Georg Schnitzler, give ‘voice to the spirit of a new era’.”1
This could be interpreted in different economic, cultural and architectural

Barcelona Pavilion was designed
as a temporary structure and stood for the duration of one year, though had an
ever-lasting impact. Keeping within this area of architectural practice, in
this essay I will be focusing on the history, trends, impacts and implications
of temporary architecture

Richard Weston, Plans, Sections and
Elevations: Key Buildings of the Twentieth Century (London, UK: Laurence
King Publishing Ltd, 2004), P. 58.


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