God is in the details – ‘Barcelona chair’ in Tron: Legacy.

White leather Knoll Barcelona chair in Tron: Legacy (2010). Also in this set is the 670 lounge and ottoman by Charles and Ray Eames, and the Arco lamp by Achille Castiglioni. Image: Disney Enterprises.
White leather Knoll Barcelona chair in Tron: Legacy (2010). Also in this set is the 670 lounge and ottoman by Charles and Ray Eames, and the Arco lamp by Achille Castiglioni. Image: Disney Enterprises.

Sexy as hell, an icon of the modern movement and one of my personal favourite pieces – the Knoll Barcelona chair designed by Mies van der Rohe – is a star performer in Tron: Legacy‘s digital world “Safehouse”. It’s one of the many films this stunning chair has been featured in, including a Bond or two.

It’s an interesting choice by Production Designer Darren Gilford in his mission to create the digital-age decor for Tron, given that the chair was in fact designed in 1929. This is testament to the fact it’s a timeless classic and a genuine furniture icon.

Get this – the Barcelona chair is available in no less than 1000 different leather options. The icy white Barcelona beauties seen in Tron compliment the fact that everything in the Safehouse glows, including the floor (the futuristic illuminated glass panel flooring and mix of Rococo-style furniture bears more than a passing nod to Kubrick’s 2001: Space Odyssey don’t you think?).

Illuminated flooring and rocco furniture in 2001: A Space Odyssey

Illuminated flooring and Rococo furniture in 2001: A Space Odyssey

The real deal

There are many wanna-be Barcelona’s out there but here’s how to spot the genuine Knoll article:
– An original is upholstered with 40 individual panels which are cut, hand-welted, and hand-tufted with leather buttons produced from a single cowhide (imitations tend to use one piece of material as it’s cheaper). 17 straps are used for cushion support
– The frame is premium grade 304 bar stock stainless steel hand-buffed to a mirror finish
– The KnollStudio logo and signature of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe are stamped into the leg.

Did you know?

– This Chair was designed to provide a comfortable break for the King of Spain as he visited the German Pavilion at the International Exposition of 1929 hosted by Barcelona, Spain. It was first used in Villa Tugendhat, a masterpiece of Mies van der Rohe in the City of Brno (Czech Republic).
– The design, with its signature crisscross frames, is thought to be based on the campaign chairs of Ancient Rome. Mies: “I feel that it must be possible to harmonize the old and new in our civilization.”
– Mies van der Rohe was the last director of the Bauhaus before the Nazis closed the school and he fled to America.
– Its now been recognised that the design was a collaboration between Lilly Reich, Mies’ long time partner and companion, who did not clamour for recognition.

It just gets better

It has sometimes been said that the Barcelona chair is more of a status symbol than a comfortable resting place (illustrated by the many HQ’s and banks that display them proudly in their cavernous marble-floored receptions). However, I popped along to the Knoll London showroom for the launch of the new Relax collection earlier this week, which includes Barcelona Relax. This version is based on an original American version not officially available in the UK before, which interestingly has thicker foam in the cushion, is slightly more curvaceous and softer, and I confirm it is a very comfortable seat indeed. Here’s some snaps of my trip to the Knoll Relax launch earlier this week:

So where can I get one?

Barcelona chair’s are available from Knoll official dealers such Design Within Reach and The Conran Shop.

If you’re after a vintage version, Pamono currently have this (shown below) original white leather Barcelona chair by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, produced by Fasem in Italy in 1989 (licensed to produce) priced at £1604.

White leather Barcelona Chair available from Pamono

White leather Barcelona Chair available from Pamono

White leather original Barcelona chair available from Pamono

White leather original Barcelona chair available from Pamono

Buy the white Barcelona chair now>

Vintage Barcelona chairs are also often available via Etsy.

The Barcelona chair also comes in very cute miniature form (the construction, materials and colours correspond perfectly to the historical Vitra Design Museum Collection original) from Conran for £315

Watch it now! Or buy the DVD as seen in the sidebar of this story (if viewing on Desktop) or below (if viewing on mobile/tablet)

Remember folks: “God is in the details.” Mies van der Rohe

 

About the author -


Paula Benson

Film and Furniture founder / Co-Creative Director at Form. Passionate about interiors, design, art, film, music and mind over matter.

Posted in: Feature on September 20, 2014
Film Title: Tron Legacy
Film Year: 2010
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Genre: Action Adventure Sci-Fi
Set Designer: Darren Gilford Lin MacDonald Kevin Ishioka
Object Type: Chair light lamp ottoman
Object Sub-type: Barcelona chair 670 lounge chair and ottoman Arco lamp
Object Colour: white
Object Designer: Mies van der Rohe Eames Charles and Ray Eames Achille Castiglioni
Object Shop: Skandium Knoll Chaplins Conran Nest Pamono
Tagged with: , , , , , , , , , ,

Post your comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Become a Film and Furniture member

Sign up to receive inspiration, 6-8 times a year direct to your inbox

This website is mainly for entertainment and educational use. Some links within articles are monetized i.e. We sometimes receive a small payment if you click one of those links and purchase a product or service on that site. We tell you this in the spirit of openness and please rest assured that all our recommendations are vetted and genuine. All images: copyrighted to the original image maker and/or film company. Film and Furniture logos © Film and Furniture. All written content copyright © Film and Furniture.