The Model B3 (Wassily Chair) was one of the earliest products to emerge from the Dessau Bauhaus and helped consolidate the school’s reputation as the leading force in functional design.
It was one of the earliest designs, too, to exploit tubular steel, whose structural strength, lightness and stark, sleek looks enabled the creation of striking new furniture forms.
Its designer, Marcel Breuer, the head of the Bauhaus cabinet-making workshop, is said to have taken some of his inspiration from the tubular-steel handlebars of his beloved Adler bicycle.
Breuer gave one of the earliest prototypes to his Bauhaus colleague, the painter Wassily Kandinsky, after whom the chair was eventually to be renamed when it was reissued in the 1960s.
The chair was initially manufactured by the pioneering Austrian furniture company Thonet, and was available in black, white or wire-mesh fabric, and in both folding and non-folding forms.
The Model B3 was a solution to the technical challenge of redefining what a chair should look like and how it should be made.
While its refined structure, outlined by thin nickel-plated pipes of metal, make it look rather like a technical line drawing, in fact its broad volume and simple styling produce the perfect chair.