Friday 3 June 2011

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich

It is not widely known that Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886- 1969) collaborated with the brilliant Lilly Reich (1885-1847) on many interior and furniture designs between 1927 and 1939. Their joint work for the house Mies designed for Hermann Lange in Krefeld (1927-30) subsequently influenced the direction of avant-garde interior design.

Mies and Lilly collaborated for more than 12 years. The furniture they designed together is some of the best modernist work; simple and refined, technically innovative, often constructed with low cost materials. One exception is their Barcelona chair, which cost a fortune in 1929.

Her modest designs show the degree to which the interiors and finishings which Ludwig Wittgenstein designed for his family's home are both sumptuous and expensively crafted.

In 2007, the Lange House at Krefeld mounted an exhibition surveying the Lilly and Mies collaboration. It was an opportunity to see how one of the best modernist houses in Germany was not only an architectural tour-de-force; its construction inspired a partnership that influenced the future projects Mies and Lilly. Her contributions to the interior designs of the Tugendhat House (1929) in Brno are only just beginning to be acknowledged.

Todd Hosfelt’s blog has published two fine images of the exterior of the Lange House. Todd is publishing a fascinating profile of architecture:

To visit the Lange House:

The best study in English of the Lilly Reich and Mies van der Rohe collaboration was researched and written by Christiane Lange, the great-granddaughter of Hermann Lange:
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe & Lilly Reich – Furniture and Interiors, Ostfildern, Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2006. ISBN 978 7757 1921 6

This publication may be interloaned from Auckland Libraries.

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