There is a chair that changes the air of the room completely by just placing it.
The Barcelona chair by Mies van der Rohe is such a chair.

Innovative structure and form, elegant and cool.
This chair,the top of a modern furniture, has a coolness and loneliness that refuses someone to sit.


(* Barcelona chair & stool, source:

he Barcelona chair was designed for the Barcelona pavilion which was built for Barcelona International Expo in 1929, also designed by Mies.
It was created as a throne for Spanish King Alfonso XIII and its Queen Victoria Eugenie whom planned to appear at the Barcelona Pavilion and so it was placed there.

The episode suites for this throne is left behind. The origin of the Barcelona chair is the chair of the X leg leg called “Curule Chair” which was also the symbol of the powerful person in ancient Roman era.
(“Reputation Mies van der Rohe” by Franz Schulz Kashima Press 2006).


(* Curule chair, source:

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Alphonse XIII was born with the mother Maria Christina married from the Habsburg family, with the father of Spanish King Alfonso XIII of the Bourbon family. Before the birth, father Alphonse XII died, Alfons XIII was a king from the moment of birth, a man of rare origins who sat in a throne from childhood under the regency of Maria Cristina.


There is photo of Mies in a formal clothing having conversation with Alfonso XIII in front of the Barcelona pavilion.

Mies van der rohe and Alfonso XIII

(* Meis with Alfonso XIII at the Barcelona Pavilion, source:

May 26, 1929, as the founder of modern architecture, in front of said to be the best masterpiece of Mies’s work Barcelona Pavilion, King of Spain signed the Golden Imperial letter for the opening of the exposition, It was the moment of his life.

However, In front of transparent glass facing the pool in the courtyard Alfonso XIII and his wife who never sat on a Barcelona chair which made of leather of white lamb.
The reason is that it is told that there is no space hierarchy suitable for the king to sit in “Flowing Space”, which Mies have realized at the Barcelona Pavilion. That later leads to the universal space.
(“seeking the truth” Makoto Takayama Kashima publishing association 2006).


(* Barcelona Pavilion, 1929, source:

Or the delusion will swell.
It could be because Alfonso XIII felt somewhat uneasy to the atmosphere that Barcelona chair had.
Alfons XIII born as King, who is said to have sat down on the throne from childhood, learned the imperial science, and have taken parental control from the age of 16, may have instinct the cynical intention of Mies hidden in the Barcelona chair.

It is such a throne of modern times. However please never sit down. Because the modern throne is made to symbolize the absence of the Lord to sit.

Spain, who did not participate in the First World War, was promoted industrialization due to special war demands and economic development was impressive, but on the other hand, the gap between rich and poor remarkably expanded, politics that was stable in the era of father Alphonso XII has began to shake.
The marriage parade with Victoria was hit by an anarchist’s bomb terrorism, after that the royalists and the Republicans repeatedly fought and the two prime ministers assassinated even while Alfonso XIII was present. Social unrest became serious,and as a result the meaning of royal government came to lost.

Anxiety may have been good. two years after that, Alfonso XIII was exiled from political stalemate in 1931, the Spanish rule was abolished, which triggered the civil war in Spain.
After that, Spain, the Francisco Franco Bahamonde who command the civil war, became head of state, and the dictatorship regime had continued.

Mies van der Rohe disappeared the hierarchy of space by the Barcelona pavilion and spread homogeneous space (Universal Space) to the world.And the Barcelona chair placed there symbolized the annihilation of social hierarchy.

In 1975, with the death of Franco, Spain returned to the royal government for the first time in 36 years, and Van Carlos I seduces the king.  The king, whom was seen as Franco’s puppet, denied the dictatorship of the Franco era and promoted democratization.  Spain of the constitutional monarchy of today is made. Van Carlos I is the grandson of Alphonse XIII.

Eighty-eight years ago, what came across the minds of Alfons XIII who was in front of the modern throne Barcelona chair may have been a form of democratic Spain today.

There is also a theory that the Barcelona chair did not make it in time, as of May 26, 1929 when Barcelona · pavilion itself was not perfectly completed. Picture only shows the front of the pavilion.


text by Tetsuya Omura