Marcel Breuer (1902-1981)
Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine, Paris
20 February - 17 July, 2013
1 Place du Trocadéro, 75016 Paris
+33 1 58 51 52 00

The designer and architect Marcel Breuer (1902 - 1981) is regarded as one of the most influential and important designers of the 20th century. As a young student at the Bauhaus Weimar, Breuer, who was Hungarian by birth, caught the eye with various furniture designs inspired by the Dutch De Stijl group.

In 1925 at the age of only 23, he “invented” tubular steel furniture, a quite revolutionary development and considered his core contribution to the history of design. Breuer’s tubular steel designs, such as the famous Wassily armchair, the Bauhaus stool or his various cantilever chairs are representative for the design of an entire epoch, and thus comparable only with Wagenfeld’s legendary table luminaire. In the shape of millions of copies they have long since taken a firm place among the great classics of Modernism.

Yet it was not only tubular steel furniture that helped Breuer make an international splash. He was likewise a design history trailblazer with his aluminum and bent laminated wood furniture designs produced in the 1930s, inspiring subsequent generations of designers. Moreover, his legendary interior designs seem no less important and as does his career as an architect which took off during the mid-1940s. His New York-based studio at first made a name for itself with detached houses. As of the early 1950s, Breuer also realized numerous prestigious large-scale projects, among others creating various buildings that were at the forefront of international debates, such as the Unesco Headquarters in Paris (1952 - 58; together with Nervi and Zehrfuss) or the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York (1964 - 66). His trademark was the sculptural use of concrete – which he preferred predominantly as it could be moulded and possessed such massiveness.