Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886 Aachen - 1969 Chicago) was the last director of the Bauhaus, architect and designer who worked in Germany and the USA. From 1904 to 1907 Mies van der Rohe worked under the furniture and interior designer Bruno Paul in Berlin, whilst also studying at the School of Applied Arts. From 1908 to 1911 he worked in Peter Behrens' office, at the same time as Walter Gropius. In 1911 he started working as a self-employed architect in Berlin and his work on the Weissenhof housing project in Stuttgart attracted attention. Two years later, he designed the German Pavilion for the International Exhibition in Barcelona, which gained him worldwide recognition. His furniture is characterized by innovative design and classical elegance. He often used expensive materials such as leather and chrome-plated steel frames. In 1930, as director of the Bauhaus, he made architecture the core of the curriculum. During his term, the basic design workshops became optional courses and lost their original experimental spirit. Mies van der Rohe was the last director of the Bauhaus before its closure by the National Socialists in 1933. In 1937 he left for Chicago to head the School of Architecture at the Armour Institute, known today as the Illinois Institute of Technology. He designed many well-known buildings in the US and Europe, among them the Seagram Building in New York and the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin.
Thonet was a furniture factory founded in 1843 in Vienna, which produced furniture for Bauhaus artists. The first Thonet carpentry workshop was founded in 1819 in Boppard, Germany by Michael Thonet to mass produce his bentwood furniture designs. Between 1830 and 1836 Thonet experimented in wood-bending by gluing veneer, steaming and then cooling it in metal forms of the desired shape. His wood bending method reduced costs, enabling mass production at affordable prices. The first family factory was set up in 1843 in Vienna by Michael Thonet and his sons. Six years later, the father transferred the factory to his sons under the name Gebrüder Thonet. In 1923 the company merged with Mundus to become Thonet Mundus AG. In the 1930s the factory expanded considerably, after purchasing the rights to manufacture the majority of the tubular furniture developed at the Bauhaus by Marcel Breuer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Mart Stam.
Cf: Derek Ostergard (ed.), Bent Wood and Metal Furniture 1850-1946, New York, 1987, p. 275.
See also: Jan van Geest and Otakar Mácel, Stühle aus Stahl, Cologne, 1980, p. 95, fig. 2.