It is as though Marcel Breuer had anticipated today’s home offices and mobile computers: The compact tubular steel desk S 285 that he designed is an elegant companion for modern lifestyle and work. Marcel Breuer’s tubular steel desk S 285 for Thonet is a successful example of the programmatic Bauhaus claim to combine art and technology into a new entity. Breuer was a trained joiner and he combined his knowledge of tubular steel as a material with his experience in interior design. The tabletop and storage elements made of varnished or stained wood harmoniously fit into the tubular steel frame. The supporting frame consists of a curved line, and the wooden elements characterised by clear forms seem to float in it. This piece of furniture with its formally balanced proportions represents an important piece of contemporary history, known as “The New Objectivity”. Thonet produces various versions of this striking model.
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Marcel Breuer was born in 1902 in Pécs, Hungary. He started an art degree but chose instead to study at the Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar from 1920 to 1924. Breuer took over the management of the joiner’s workshop at the Bauhaus from 1925 to 1928, which had meanwhile moved to Dessau. During this time, he was strongly influenced by constructivism and De Stijl and developed a few trend-setting tubular steel furniture designs. In 1928 Breuer moved to Berlin and dedicated himself mainly to the field of interior design. In 1931 he travelled extensively before starting work on several aluminium furniture designs in Switzerland in 1932. Breuer moved to London in 1935, where he worked as an architect. In 1937 he was granted a professorship for architecture at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he later opened an architectural office together with Walter Gropius. Breuer opened his own studio in New York in 1946 and realized numerous designs in Europe and the United States. He is considered one of the most important architects and designers of modernism. Marcel Breuer died on 1 July 1981 in New York.