The Brothers Bloom meets The Bauhaus

About two months ago I saw a great movie called The Brothers Bloom and of course, out of no where, BOOM!, design.  I was happy to spot a dining table surrounded by Bauhaus style chairs.

The dining table and chairs in the movie

My first thoughts turned to Marcel Breuer.  The design of the dining room chairs reminded me of his Wassily chair.

As a student and a teacher at The Bauhaus in Germany in the 1920s Breuer helped to invent tubular steel furniture.  His most famous and well-recognized piece is the Wassily Chair, originally named the Type B3 Steel Club Chair.  The chair was later named for Wassily Kandinsky, who admired the chair and had one made for his own home, by the designer and fellow Bauhaus artist, Breuer.

And while the chair is most often seen in black leather, I’ve shown it here in white because it is most similar to the chairs seen in the movie.

Director's style chair, (This is a modern interpretation.)

But, after more investigation and reading, I learned about Mart Stam, a Dutch Bauhhous designer from the same time as Marcel Breuer.  From what I have found, they both developed tubular steel chairs around the same time period, but it seems Breuer usually gets the credit.

And since The Brothers Bloom was all about the underdog or the over-looked getting his due credit, I’m going to give Stam the credit on this one.

Mart Stam's cantilever chairs

Even as exact replicas of his Cantilever Chai S34 are sold today, they are billed as Breuer style chairs.  (See the cream colored Director’s Chair above – it’s sold as a “Breuer Director Style Chair.”)  To be fair, Stam and Breuer’s chairs are VERY similar.

Marcel Breuer's cantilever chair

So can we agree to disagree?  I say Stam.  But they are from the same school: Bauhaus, and they are from the same time period: the late 1920s.  Maybe they helped each other?  The difference seems to me, to be in the arm rests.

Another piece of furniture I noticed in that flash of a dining room scene was the table.  Not that I recognized it, but I had to look into it after the chairs revealed so much.  I could very easily be wrong here, but I’m going to guess this table is from Design Within Reach.

Dining room table "inspired by" Marcel Breuer

DWR describes the table on their website as having, “the angular beauty of …the strict architecture of Marcel Breuer’s seminal work and the clean geometry of Le Corbusier’s ‘equipment for living.'”  I mean, it is a movie set after all and they probably are using modern reproductions, so I’m just going to go with the flow and say this isn’t a piece of historical design, but a modern one that works beautifully.

Even if it is only on screen for 17 seconds.

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4 Comments

Filed under Double Takes, Modern Film

4 responses to “The Brothers Bloom meets The Bauhaus

  1. Morgan

    How can two people come up with nearly identical designs?
    I don’t know much about the Bauhaus school, but is it possible that something specific inspired both of them?
    (This question brought to you by vicodin)

    • upstagedbydesign

      Ahhh, the usefulness of Wikipedia …It is entirely possible that they inspired each other, since they were both designing at the same time and at the same place. BUT! According to Wikipedia, it’s much juicier than that: “After moving to Berlin, Stam devised a steel-tubing cantilever chair, using lengths of standard gas pipe and standard pipe joint fittings. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe became aware of Stam’s work on the chair during planning for the Weissenhof Siedlung and mentioned it to Marcel Breuer at the Bauhaus. This led almost immediately to variations on the cantilevered tubular-steel chair theme by both Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer, and began an entire genre of chair design. In the late 1920s, Breuer and Stam were involved in a patent lawsuit in German courts, both claiming to be the inventor of the basic cantilever chair design principle. Stam won the lawsuit, and, since that time, specific Breuer chair designs have often been erroneously attributed to Stam. In the United States, Breuer assigned the rights to his designs to Knoll, and for that reason it is possible to find the identical chair attributed to Stam in Europe and to Breuer in the U.S.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mart_Stam

  2. Morgan

    That is fascinating! Thx!

  3. Pingback: Talk to Her …and sit in this chair. « Upstaged by Design

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