Barcelona chairs in M’s flat

Posted on February 27, 2013

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In Casino Royale James Bond breaks in to M’s home to use her computer. She walks in on him, annoyed with his arrogant cheek and a great scripted as well as directed scene follows. Both Bond and M sit in her Barcelona chairs. M’s got three (perhaps a fourth for the balance but it’s not visible on-screen) of those chairs although not with the classic black or white leather cushions but rather light brown cushions made of suede, it seems.
M flat Casino Royale

The Barcelona chair is a piece of classic modernism design furniture. The chair was made in two copies for the German pavillion of the World Exhibition in Barcelona, Spain in 1929. They were designed by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and his business partner Lilly Reich. Ludwig Mies was also the architect of the enitire German pavillion.
“Mies Van der Rohe has also been architect-director of the Bauhaus school, famous for combining craft with fine art in affordable furnishings and well-designed homes. Lily Reich was an interior designer, responsible for designing and organising many of the Deutscher Werkbund’s international exhibitions. The Deutscher Werkbund was a German government organisation promoting German art education and high quality consumer products.” (text from the site www.Barcelonachairs.net)

Barcelona chair knollAs for the design, the chair has a certain sense of duality as it holds similarites with both a folding chair and a throne.

“The original frame had bolts but in 1950 it got its current look with the seamless metal frame. Furthermore, the original ivory pigskin was also replaced by black leather.   The Barcelona chair was manufactured in the United States, Spain and Germany between 1930 and 1950. After Lily Reich’s death, van der Rohe ceded his rights to Knoll.” (as above)

Knoll is the current official manufacturer.
Casino Royale on Barcelona ChairThe Barcelona chair is apparently not very comfortable, (I’ve never sat in one) but has great acclaim worldwide since its release in 1929, which is also evident on the price tag. So, why hasn’t M’s chairs the black leather cushions?
Well, I don’t really know but the black leather communicates a more official setting, like an office or hotel lounge. Perhaps the leather cushions were too shiny for the shot, the white cushions were surely too bright for the scene. The light brown cusions seem softer and more homey. They are also more discreet. The three Barcelona chairs shows M as a lady of taste and some wealth. To a leighman they stand out in the interiour design of M’s flat.

I’ve also noted that the chairs in the SPECTRE meeting room in “Thunderball” do look a great deal like Barcelona chairs but I don’t think they are. Perhaps those are Ken Adam originals? If someone would like to illuminate me on this one, feel free to comment this post. I still haven’t got the Ken Adam Bond design book.
Barcelona chairs or not, the SPECTRE chairs are surely inspired by the Mies/Reich classic piece of modernist furniture,

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