International Decorative Art

2-Level, 2-Drawer Desk (Model B91)

2-Level, 2-Drawer Desk (Model B91)

Design Date 1928

Designer Marcel Breuer (1902-1981, American, b. Hungary)

Manufacturer Gebr├╝der Thonet (1853-present)

Media wood and chrome-plated tubular steel

Dimensions 27 1/4 x 35 3/4 x 17 3/4 inches

The design for this desk was adapted from a 1923 stool by Breuer that was essentially a black wood plank placed on a continuous steel frame with two U-shaped legs, similar to the top section of this desk. The stool’s shape was so versatile that Breuer used it as the basis for nesting tables and a range of different desks. The runner or “sled” style legs of the desk, which are composed of one piece of steel rather than four separate legs, became an integral element of tubular-steel furniture. Not only did the U-shape emphasize the continuous nature of the steel, it also made it easy to push or pull the lightweight furniture around a room. Breuer sought to create furniture that was accessible and practical for people of all classes. He called this approach to affordability the “social scale” defined as, “the price which can be afforded by the greatest number of people, without which my work would bring me little satisfaction.” The low cost of Breuer’s materials and the simple manufacturing process of his furniture worked toward this goal.

ON VIEW in Bauhaus Gallery 5

Markings unmarked

Credit Line Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Accession Number 1999.0019