One of the best examples of modernist furniture, the Barcelona chair was designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1929. This chair has been voted a modernist classic and is famous worldwide.
All the authentic chairs manufactured by Knoll Studio bear the logo and signature of Mies Van der Rohe. These hallmarks help you distinguish an authentic Barcelona chair from one of lower quality. The official Barcelona chair is not readily available for purchase because it is made—requiring a high degree of skill and an even higher degree of time.
That said, this has not stopped others from replicating the famous chair and passing it off as authentic. If you want to know how to identify an authentic Barcelona chair, here are a few tips:
Check the Back Cushion
The authentic Barcelona chair has a unique back cushion to it. Always check the back cushion and make sure it is a simple design of four pieces that make a diamond shape. If you see extra straps, laces, or material, this is a sign of a counterfeit Barcelona chair. Additionally, be sure to see if the material is made of thick linen. If it is thin, it isn’t authentic.
Evaluate the Seat
The genuine Barcelona chair has an egg-shaped seat that is firm to sit on. If you see a seat that looks rounded off and the material is too soft, this is not a genuine Barcelona chair.
Check the Legs
Another way to verify an authentic Barcelona chair is to check the legs. This chair has a steel structure, with the legs being tapered cylinders that come in either a chrome or a walnut finish. If the chair does not have this structure, you are probably not looking at a genuine Barcelona.
Check the Metal Frame
Authentic Barcelona chairs come with a metal frame welded together by hand. For cheaper versions, the metal frame is not welded together by hand but is instead welded together with vises, leading to a lower quality frame.
Find the Logo
As mentioned earlier, authentic Barcelona chairs have the Knoll Studio logo emblazoned on the chair’s back. This signifies that the chair has been designed and manufactured by Knoll Studio.
Aside from checking the back of the chair, you should also check the armrests. The armrests have an arrow pointing to the logo and writing that says, “Made in Italy.”
Finally, check the leather covering of the back cushion. The leather covering should come from cowhide that the craftsmen of Florence tan The leather should be thick, and there should be a distinct grain.
Look for Fastening Rivets
Last but not least, to tell if the chair is genuine, you should check the fastening rivets. The fastening rivets of a genuine Barcelona chair are sunk in and finished, and the threading on the metal is visible and of high quality.
The Knoll Studio Barcelona chair is much sought after by designers and collectors. This chair was designed to be timeless. While your Barcelona chair may be a bit worn and old, it is still an authentic one because of the quality and craftsmanship of the materials used.
The Bottom Line
Authentic Barcelona chairs are not made as frequently as they once were. However, they are still being made today. If you are lucky enough to run into an authentic Barcelona chair, you can spot it by checking for all the things listed above.
Not all Barcelona chairs are the same. There are many variations of this chair and several excellent manufacturers in the market today. That said, the authentic Knoll Studio Barcelona chair is an excellent and timeless piece of design that is a worthy addition to any collection.
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