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Photographs by Helge Mundt

Fascinated by the construction currently taking place in Berlin — as well as the buildings placed under historical preservation — Helge Mundt put chairs designed by architects in selected spaces in Berlin between 1996-98. The result is a photo series that exhibits strong contrasts, as well as great affinities, between chairs and buildings from different eras.

Thus this series presents the interplay between objects, spaces, and eras. It shows icons of furniture design created by architects — like Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Chair or Verner Panton's stacking chairs — placed within buildings in Berlin that have made (or are making) architectural history. The motifs were carefully assembled based on the intentions and characters of the buildings and objects; Saarinen's organic “Tulip” chair (1953-56) fits perfectly under the roof of Stubbin's Congress Hall, built in the same period. Similarly, a simple chair created by Karl Friedrich Schinkel (cir. 1825) exhibits an affinity with the constructive classicism of Mies Van der Rohe's New National Gallery (1965-68). Archille Castiglioni's bicycle saddle stool “Stella” (designed in 1957) forms a symbiosis with Dominique Perrault's cycling arena (completed in 1996). Mackintosh's artificial high ladderback chair (1903) corresponds to the architecture of one of the stairways in Daniel Libeskind's Jewish Museum Berlin (completed in January 1999). Ron Arad's armchair “Soft Little Heavy” (1994) reveals baroque tendancies when placed in the Golden Gallery of the Charlottenburg Palace (1746), one of the major examples of Prussian rococo. In amusing contrast, the blow-up chair created by an Italian student group in 1967 pokes fun at the ostentatious, historicist stairway of the Moabit courthouse (1906). Oswald M. Unger's chair (1988) exposes the intrinsic austerity of Schinkel's Glienicke Castle (1825).

This series was first shown in large format as part of the exhibition “Architects as Designers” at the Hamburger Bahnhof/Contemporary Museum Berlin in 1998.


Artists Represented