Marcel Breuer: A Real International Celebrity Designer
In his design work, which was outstanding, Marcel Breuer not only concentrated in designing furniture but he also designed metal houses. After designing the metal houses, he designed the bamboo house. Marcel Breuer taught at Bauhaus up to the end of 1928, after which he set up his own architectural office in Berlin and ran it for about three years.
While running his private architectural errands, Marcel Breuer engaged
in interior designing for department and furniture stores. However, frustration later set in while doing this work, because of all the designs that he put through, none was being built. The designs were not being practically applied.
During this period, Germany experienced an economic slump that forced Marcel Breuer out of business. He thus started travelling to other countries in Europe and even in Africa looking for better prospects. He visited Morocco, South of France, Greece and Spain.
This excursion took approximately one year. When he returned to Germany, he found out that one of the designs that he had put up by the name of Harnischmacher House, in Wiesbaden was being put up. This gave him the morale to move on, designing the Wohnbedarf furniture store in Zurich.
He later worked as a member of a team that consisted of two other members, who were Alfred and Emil Roth. Together they designed the Doldertal houses. The Doldertal houses were apartment blocks that were built in Zurich for Sigfried Giedion, who was the founder of the Wohnbedarf Company.
Even though Marcel Breuer designed a variety of furniture between the years of 1932 up to 1934, they only became popular in the 1970’s, several years after they were first designed. The furniture designs were made from steel and aluminium which were in the form of flat bands.
The variety of designs were produced and sold by the Wohnbedarf Company. With an aim of escaping the extremist Nazis, Marcel Breuer migrated to London in 1935. He had to escape from Germany because he had both Hungarian and Jewish roots.
After settling in London, he formed a partnership with an English architect by the name of F.R.S Yorke. Their partnership yielded several houses in Bristol, Hampshire, Sussex and Berkshire. While combining local stone and wood, they came up with the Gane pavilion which was located in Bristol.
The Gane pavilion assignment was a departure from the kind of design work that he had done at the Bauhaus previously. The designs at the Bauhaus used a combination of glass, steel and modern materials.
Marcel Breuer was later on employed as a designer by the Jack Pritchard’s Company Isokon, where he came up with the plywood pieces of furniture which were subsequently produced by him.
The plywood pieces were based on some of his earlier designs. The plywood designs were also influenced by the works of Alvar Aalto, who had earlier designed and exhibited his plywood furniture in 1933 in Britain. At the beginning of 1938 Marcel Breuer migrated to America to take up a teaching job at Harvard.