Barcelona Chair Real or Fake? I don’t really have a habit of checking Craigslist every day but I happen to check it early one morning last week. The listing said “black leather designer chair”. I clicked the link and there was a picture of a Ludwig Mies van der Rohe barcelona chair. I instantly thought this had to be a reproduction because there could in no way be one this cheap, in this area. There was one feature that made me hope this could be original and it was the piping in the stitching. There was no phone number in the listing so I sent off an email. Click read more to hear how it turned out.
I practically just forgot about the chair because I really thought it was a cheap knock off and it was probably already gone. Fast forward to 8:00pm that night. I get a call from a younger sounding guy wanting to know if I was still interested in the chair. He said I was first on the list that had emailed him. I had to ask him a few questions before I went and looked at it. He said it was about 8 years old and he got it from his mom who got it from a store in Bellevue, WA that was going out of business, it was part of their décor. He said the chair has been in storage for the last 3 years and he just needed to get rid of it. Bellevue, WA = very nice wealthy area and the fact that it was almost 8 years old sealed the deal. I went, I examined, we discussed price and loaded it up.
This chair is a very nice reproduction with a wonderful patina on the leather and for the price I payed it is a welcome addition to our master bedroom loft.
Some guide lines:
An authentic Barcelona chair should be 30 inches high, 30 inches deep, 29.5 inches wide, with a seat height of 17 inches.
The cushions of the chair should be tapered to the chair and should follow the form of the straps. They should not be flat and square.
There should/could be a stamp on the metal leg that says “Knoll Studio” and next to it the signature of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Although adding the Mies van Der Rohe signature and Knoll logo on the frame is a very late invention by Knoll.
The leather should feel soft and supple, not rigid and thick. It should also be matte; shiny leather is often a sign of a fake chair. The Knoll version is upholstered using twenty individual panels, cut and hand-welted then tufted with matching buttons, cheaper copies are simply one piece and pleated.
Here are some good resources I found while researching: