Knoll and photographer Adam Jason Cohen put a contemporary lens on Bauhaus design

Totally Tubular

MR Chair

Cults have been born from something as commonplace as a chair. Since 3,200 B.C., the time of the earliest recorded chairs in history, designers and architects have innovated and evolved the typology’s scale, form, and function. Perhaps one of the most recognizable designs remains Marcel Breuer’s 1925 Wassily and 1928 Cesca chairs, which became influential for its use of curving tubular steel inspired by bicycle frames. They arose alongside Mies van der Rohe’s 1927 cantilevered MR Chair and Table.

Marcel Bruer’s Wassily
Marcel Breuer’s Wassily chair now comes in a black finish (Adam Jason Cohen/Courtesy Knoll)

The Wassily chair
The Wassily is also offered in a new white and red color scheme (Adam Jason Cohen/Courtesy Knoll)

These designs were acquired by Knoll but are now launching in three new finishes: an archival dark red, white, and black. While the former, expressed in an ultra-matte finish, harkens back to a Bauhaus color that was originally offered in the MR Chair, the black and white shades recall how Bauhaus designers embraced the color palette for the ways they reflect and absorb light, accentuate geometric forms, and strengthen edges.

The MR Side Table
The MR Side Table was one of Mies van der Rohe’s earliest steel furniture designs (Adam Jason Cohen/Courtesy Knoll)

Cesca chair
The Cesca chair is offered in a new red finish (Adam Jason Cohen/Courtesy Knoll)

MR Table and Chair
Mies van der Rohe’s MR Table and Chair were first designed in 1927 (Adam Jason Cohen/Courtesy Knoll)

To celebrate the new finishes, Knoll partnered with photographer Adam Jason Cohen. Cohen—who has shot for the likes of Virgil Abloh, Nike, Arcteryx, Adidas, and Knoll previously—captures the chairs in schools in southern California, including UCLA’s School of Design. The locations’ curving architecture parallels the designs’ own sculptural quality, making for both an apt yet previously unseen site for the chairs. In one shot, for instance, the cylindrical concrete facade of UCLA Margo Leavin Graduate Art Studios, designed by Johnston Marklee, acts as a resonant backdrop for the MR Table, both born with a certain curvature and industrialism in mind.

The Wassily chair was inspired by an Adler bicycle (Adam Jason Cohen/Courtesy Knoll)

Cohen’s photographic campaign for the Knoll puts a contemporary lens on the Bauhaus designs. The photographs not only serve as a reminder of the dialogue between the furniture design and architecture that brought about these iconic pieces, but also the timelessness of Breuer and van der Rohe’s work—and, of course, of Bauhaus’s lessons overall.

Wassily Chair
The designs were shot in locations throughout California, including skateparks and UCLA (Adam Jason Cohen/Courtesy Knoll)

Wassily chair
The minimal silhouette of the Wassily chair enhances its striking form (Adam Jason Cohen/Courtesy Knoll)

MR Chair
The MR Chair is well known for its cantilevered design (Adam Jason Cohen/Courtesy Knoll)

MR Chair
The MR Chair is considered to be a modern derivative of the rocking chair (Adam Jason Cohen/Courtesy Knoll)