Explore the upholstery and frame options available for this piece at the bottom of this page.
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We are in the arcanum of modernism. The F51 (1920) is not just any armchair, it is the iconic armchair for the director’s room in the Weimar Bauhaus. Walter Gropius had already injected his modernist dynamic into the building and created a small holistic work of art, encompassing interiors and furniture, tapestry and ceiling lamp. Nothing is randomly chosen and everything is connected. If you study the isometric layout of the director’s room you can see the furniture as part of a three-dimensional coordinate system.
All major designers, including Mart Stam, have walked through this central room of the Bauhaus in Weimar. Consciously or unconsciously, they were already influenced by the overarching ideas of the F51 armchair. Its protruding armrests can be seen as a precursor of Mart Stam’s chairs without back legs and anticipate Marcel Breuer’s stool on runners (1925).
“The first cantilever chair concept is from Walter Gropius, the first cantilever armrest architecture from El Lissitzky,” says Tecta’s Axel Bruchhäuser. Walter Gropius’ own thoughts: The goal of modern architecture is “to defy gravity and overcome the earth’s inertia in impression and appearance.” This later became the intellectual root of the cantilever principle and the creed of the collection in Tecta’s Cantilever Chair Museum in Lauenförde.
Despite its cubic form, the chair has an almost human appearance with its heavy but floating upholstery and simple frame. With the F51 Gropius has made a piece of space around us tangible and given it a geometric shape. It seems as if the architect had intermeshed two C-shaped elements in such a way that they continue to convey suspense. The projecting frame lifts the back of the seat and armrest upholstery away from the floor. Calm and dynamism – the armchair radiates both simultaneously and thus points to the architect’s future-forward design approach, which radically questioned all things traditional.
In 1926 Gropius wrote emphatically in his “Principles of Bauhaus Production”: “It is only through constant contact with constantly evolving techniques, with the discovery of new materials and with new ways of putting things together that the creative individual can learn to bring the design of objects into a living relationship with tradition.” The intricately crafted F51 armchair is a case in point. Existing elements are reinterpreted and the construction, the “crafted” elements are openly revealed.
The Bauhaus Archive in Berlin has officially licensed the F51 from Tecta as an authentic Bauhaus production, made to the exact proportions of the original design.
- Walter Gropius, Germany (1920)
- Solid Ash, Oak or Walnut in either clear lacquer or painted lacquered finish with selected textile or leather upholstery on foam
- Made in Germany
- Height 70cm / 27.6"
- Depth 70cm / 27.6"
- Width 70cm / 27.6"
- Seat Height 42cm / 16.5"
Tecta F51 Options
Kvadrat Hallingdal 65
By Nanna Ditzel
Kvadrat’s first textile ‘Hallingdal’ has become the archetype of woollen textiles. The very durable upholstery fabric was originally designed in 1965 by Nanna Ditzel, and is now available in a version with an updated colour scale: Hallingdal 65.
Hallingdal 65 is made of wool and viscose, which complement each other well: the wool provides excellent durability and flexibility, whilst the viscose adds brilliance and depth to the colour. Both materials are dyed before they are spun, which highlights the rich texture of the fabric.
- 100% New Wool
- Made in Norway
Durability Rating 100,000 Martindale
Pilling Rating 3-7
Lightfastness Rating 7
Kvadrat Harald 3
By Raf Simons & Fanny Aronsen
A closely-woven, very short-pile velour, Harald brings the fresh, soft texture of cotton to a directionless velvety textile. The intense colour offered by this matte velour places the focus strongly onto the silhouette of the upholstered object, emphasising its shape and contours.
Originally designed by Fanny Aronsen, Harald comes in a new colour palette conceived by Raf Simons offering a particularly large selection of vivid keynote tones, including primrose yellow, burnt orange, raspberry, lavender, aubergine and dark mint green, alongside more natural tones. Harald is a durable fabric suitable for use as curtains as well as in upholstery.
- 100% Cotton
- Made in Italy
- Durability Rating 100,000 Martindale
- Pilling Rating 4-5
- Lightfastness Rating 6
Kvadrat Divina Melange 3
By Finn Skødt
Divina Melange is a textile characterised by its lack of texture and nap and consequently the fabric accentuates the dimensions of the furniture, giving prominence to the colours.
Melange means mixture. The original six grey and beige colourways are produced by mixing varying proportions of either black or brown wool with white wool. The different colours of wool are mixed before the garment is spun.
The additional colourways have come about by dipping the two base colours in bold, virtually luminous pigments creating coloured melanges.
- 100% New wool
- Made in the UK
Durability Rating 45,000 Martindale
Pilling Rating 3
Lightfastness Rating 6-7
Kvadrat Vidar 3
By Raf Simons & Fanny Aronsen
Woven from bouclé yarns with a regular loop size, Vidar has a deep, tight, large-grained texture that lends itself particularly well to the graphic use of colour in upholstery. Originally designed by Fanny Aronsen, Vidar has been re-coloured by Raf Simons, with shades ranging from fresh jade green, raspberry pink and iris blue through to brick and earth tones, and easy neutrals.
The gentle satin surface finish of the weave contrasts with the deep shadowy tones in the depths, giving a multifaceted richness to the intense colours in the range. Tightly woven, without the irregularities of the other bouclé fabrics within this collection, Vidar has an inviting texture, which variously recalls blackberries, orange peel or the comforting close-knit texture of a favourite sweater.
- 94% New wool, 6% Nylon
- Made in Norway
- Durability Rating 100,000 Martindale
- Pilling Rating 4
- Lightfastness Rating 5-6
Founder and thinker of the Bauhaus philosophy. The architect and founder of the Bauhaus, Walter Gropius (1883-1969), mocked traditional architecture as “salon art”. He descended from a family of great builders: his great uncle was Martin Gropius. Walter Gropius abandoned his architectural studies and initially joined the office of Peter Behrens – as had, incidentally, Adolf Meyer, Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier. A short time later, Gropius founded what we now call modernism – a major break from and with the conventions of the past.
One key feature was that he did not reject the principles of the industrial age – standardisation and prototypes – but made them productive tools for his work. “A resolute affirmation of the living environment of machines and vehicles,” wrote the Bauhaus director in 1926, who believed that “the creation of standard types for all practical commodities of everyday use is a social necessity.”
This spirit not only gave rise to the Fagus factory as an icon of modern architecture and the Dessau Bauhaus, but also laid the foundations of what is still a driving force for us today. “The objective of creating a set of standard prototypes which meet all the demands of economy, technology, and form, requires the selection of the best, most versatile, and most thoroughly educated men who are well grounded in workshop experience and who are imbued with an exact knowledge of the design elements of form and mechanics and their underlying laws.”
By founding the Bauhaus, Gropius launched a new school of thought, opposing the traditional architecture of which he was so critical. In 1919 Gropius was appointed director of the Grand Ducal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts in Weimar, Thuringia, and named the new school “State Bauhaus Weimar”.
Gropius’ driving vision was not only to construct a “building of the future” and a holistic work of art, but also the highly modern approach of maintaining the distinction between apprentice and master while intermeshing the two teachings in a novel manner. To work across the disciplines, with an interdisciplinary approach in the spirit of research and experimentation.
Gropius also knew how to translate architectural concepts into furniture design, exemplified by his unique penetration of volume and linearity that characterises many of his works. Walter Gropius directed the Bauhaus until its closure in 1933, emigrated to England in 1934 and to Cambridge, USA, in 1937 to teach as professor of architecture at Harvard University.
Walter Gropius (1888–1969) was the founder of the Bauhaus and a pioneer of modern architecture. In 1919, he was appointed to succeed Henry van de Velde as director of the School of Visual Arts in Weimar, which he renamed “Staatliches Bauhaus in Weimar”. In 1924, the Bauhaus moved to Dessau; Gropius designed the school building and the masters’ houses for the new location. In 1928, Gropius passed on the title of director to Swiss architect Hannes Meyer and became a self-employed architect in Berlin before emigrating to the United States in 1934. As a professor of architecture, he taught at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he founded The Architects’ Collaborative in 1941. In his political efforts to industrialize construction and create desperately needed residential spaces, Gropius captured the spirit of the times and influenced the work of numerous other architects.
For over 40 years family-owned Tecta’s mission and responsibility has been to preserve and review the best ideas and designs of modernism as created by the Bauhaus movement in Weimar or Dessau while being driven by the desire to think forward, enhance and adapt them.
Tecta unites craftsmanship, values and family tradition with the Bauhaus school of thought. This is what makes the company so unique with its cycle of developing and cherishing what the Bauhaus movement once taught and merged with traditional craftsmanship. Both today and yesterday.