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Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Born in 1886 in Germany, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), commonly referred to as “Mies”, was a prominent German-American architect throughout the 20th century, best known for his pioneering role in the development of the Modernist style. After working in his father’s stone carving shop as an adolescent, Mies began his architectural career as an apprentice for designer Peter Behrens at his studio in Berlin. By the 1920s, Mies joined the avant-garde Bauhaus design school as their director, advocating a functionalist approach to simple, geometric objects. After the Bauhaus was forced to close during World War II, Mies moved to the United States where he became head of the architecture school at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. It was here that he began to establish his own architectural style, defined by minimalism and simplicity, as well as the philosophy of “less is more.” Throughout his career, Mies designed several iconic modern furniture pieces using industrial technologies that are still reproduced today, including the Barcelona table and the Brno chair. Often composed of modern chrome frames upholstered in fine traditional fabrics like leather, Mies’ furniture designs are marked by their lightweight, structural bodies. Passing in 1969, Mies remains a major influence in modern design across the globe.