The tubular steel desk S 285: an important piece of contemporary history
It is as though Marcel Breuer had anticipated today’s home offices and mobile computers: The compact tubular steel desk S 285 that he designed is an elegant companion for modern lifestyle and work. Marcel Breuer’s tubular steel desk S 285 for Thonet is a successful example of the programmatic Bauhaus claim to combine art and technology into a new entity. Breuer was a trained joiner and he combined his knowledge of tubular steel as a material with his experience in interior design. The tabletop and storage elements made of varnished or stained wood harmoniously fit into the tubular steel frame. The supporting frame consists of a curved line, and the wooden elements characterised by clear forms seem to float in it.
This piece of furniture with its formally balanced proportions represents an important piece of contemporary history, known as “The New Objectivity.
Born in Hungary in 1902, Marcel Breuer was a designer and architect who joined the school of Bauhaus at the age of 18. The designer, who became one of the main teachers of the
movement four years later, encouraged his students to take a methodological perspective to how furniture can be industrially manufactured.
Opening his own architecture office in Berlin in 1928, Breuer went to Harvard University to teach architecture in 1937. He worked with architect Walter Gropius in Cambridge, Massachusetts between 1938 and 1941.
Having moved to New York in 1946, Breuer partook in many projects such as Sarah Lawrence College Theater in New York, the UNESCO center in Paris, De Bijenkorf store in Rotterdam, IBM research center in France, and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.