Timeless Design: The Perennial Success of the Nearly 100-Year-Old Cesca Chairs

Cesca Chairs

The Marcel Breuer Cesca chair features a rare, almost innocuous simplicity of design. The linearity of the piece is balanced by subtle curves, the wicker cane is accentuated by the wooden frame, and the cantilevered form seems to float in the air. Coincidentally, the history of the Cesca chair is known everywhere. After all, it is the story of radical design thinking.

The Bauhaus Chair

The Bauhaus Chair

Although architect Marcel Breuer created the Cesca chair shortly after graduating from the Bauhaus in 1928, it is inextricably linked to the material innovations,design principles and original Cesca chair he formed at the German design school. Adhering to the rationalist ideals of that school, Breuer sought a material suitable for mass production. The kind of material that could also create artful furniture forms.

With his functional design thinking and innovative mindset, Breuer found inspiration in surprising ways. Namely in the tubular steel construction of the bicycle he rode around Dessau. The material was light, strong, and malleable enough to create the modernist furniture he envisioned. After a long process of iteration, bending and welding tubular steel, Breuer came up with the Wassily chair and the Laccio table created in 1925, followed by the Cesca chair in 1928.

Marcel Breuer Cesca Chair Idea

Marcel Breuer Cesca Chair

The architect already had the idea of covering the seat with stretched fabric instead of thick upholstery. He also wanted a frame that was resilient and elastic. On top of all that, to achieve transparency of form to achieve visual and physical lightness. Mass production and standardization already then interested him in polished metal, shiny and flawless lines in space as new components for interiors. Marcel saw such polished and curved lines not only as a symbol of modern technology, but as technology itself.

Can we identify some reasons for the popularity of the Breuer chair? Of course!

Originally known as the B32 chair, this Marcel Breuer Cesca chair became an international sensation because of its frank use of material and simple form, for nothing like it existed at the time. Breyer simply changed the course of 20th-century furniture development. He is absolutely a pioneer. It all started with him and everything was created thanks to him.

Marcel Breuer Biography

Marcel Breuer Biography

Breuer was a master of Art Nouveau and a multifaceted artist who saw furniture as a necessary component of the environment, deriving meaning from its application to the spatial whole. So in 1937 he followed his mentor, Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius, to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to teach and practice architecture and design at Harvard University. In 1946, he moved to New York City to devote even more time to the profession, establishing his own practice and designing such famous modern and brutalist works as:

  • U.S. Department of Housing and Development in Washington, D.C;
  • UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France;
  • St. Francis de Sales Church in Muskegon, Michigan;
  • Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City;
  • his own residence in New Canaan, Connecticut.

In the early 1960s, the design rights were acquired by the famous Gavina Group, a manufacturer of modern Italian furniture. So Dino Gavina, the founder and owner of the company, decided to rename the chair "Cesca" in honor of Breuer's daughter, Francesca. And in 1968, Knoll acquired the Gavina Group and brought Breuer's design, as well as many of the Italian modernists represented by the company, to the forefront of popular taste.

Marcel Breuer Furniture Characteristics

Marcel Breuer Furniture Characteristics

More than ninety years later, the Cesca chairs remain an icon of the Modern movement in its fusion of structure and ornament. Its design – defined by a simple cantilevered form and a graphic juxtaposition of industrial and natural materials – remains contemporary even after decades have passed. Today, Knoll Cesca chair is available. This company offers the Cesca chair in a variety of upholstery options, as well as bar and counter height.

The original Cesca chair, which is still in production today, is made of steel, wood and cane. Knoll offers a design in the same combination of materials, with a tubular steel base that supports the seat and back made of cane, framed in beech wood. However, the Cesca series also uses other materials, such as upholstery in various colors and patterns.

Breuer Cesca chairs are very comfortable, whether it's the original reed material or the combination of reed backs and upholstered seats. Knoll also offers designs with wood armrests or with padded pads for extra support. Cesca chairs with upholstered backs and seats provide additional seating comfort without losing the character of the design.

Cost of Breuer Cesca Chairs

Designer mesh chairs and professional office chairs with ergonomic designs usually cost more than standard chairs. Such chairs may have iconic, patented designs or have a number of high-tech features. When it comes to Cesca chairs, an original product always costs more than a Breuer Cesca chair replica or copied design made from low-quality materials. Like other designer furniture that has taken its place in design history, the Knoll Cesca Chair is more expensive than the average mesh chair. Original Cesca chairs can be found for prices ranging from $800 to $1,000.

Now you have detailed information. And if you decide to buy a genuine Breuer Cesca chair – you won't regret it.

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