It was the Roaring Twenties and there was something in the air: “Defying gravity and overcoming the earth’s inertia, in impression and appearance,” was the aim of Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius. Like the cubic cantilever design of his F51 Director’s Chair, these prophetic words stood for a new chapter of modern seating: the cantilever concept. The armrests of the F51 protruded freely and even the back of the chair did not touch the ground. A piece that embraced Lissitzky’s vision and was considered an innovation.
For her new take on the F51 Katrin Greiling demonstrates how to rethink the iconic chair’s surfaces and colours. She presents the Gropius armchair in striking colour and texture combinations that change perspectives and draw attention. In doing so she has given the F51 a new face after 100 years. The fabrics she uses for this purpose were created by the Belgian fashion designer Raf Simmons for Kvadrat. Inspired by wool, twill and tweed, the collection features textures and colours that enable a transition to contemporary furniture.
Katrin Greiling divides the armchair into three design areas: frame, seat and armrest upholstery. She presents the distinctive geometrical wooden frame in six new colours realised with a high-gloss lacquer. Colour plays a major role in all her designs, and the same goes for the F51. She draws attention with colour and textures, emphasizing shapes and proportions. A primary source of inspiration for Katrin Greiling’s design approach to the task was the textile artist, Gunta Stölzl, director of the weaving workshop, whose importance to the legacy of the Bauhaus has often been overlooked.