You know you are successful when, sixty-plus years after most of your best work is completed, it is still considered to be the gold standard … and across multiple different industries.

Such is the case with Mies van der Rohe. He had his heyday in the early-to-mid-twentieth century, when everything from the futuristic buildings he dreamed up to the minimalist furniture he designed was considered cutting edge, yet decades later much of his work remains among our best examples of modernism. (Let’s talk about career goals, shall we?)

His buildings are still winning awards and gaining historic landmark status, and his furniture is basically the Chanel of the design world. If you can purchase one of van der Rohe’s iconic Barcelona chairs new, then great, but if you can find a vintage piece in good condition (or even halfway decent condition) so much the better.

Here, our top five reasons van der Rohe is such an icon.

S.R CROWN HALL The (highly appropriate) site of the College of Architecture at Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology, S.R. Crown Hall is a signature example of van der Rohe’s less-is-more approach, and considered to be one of his hallmark designs.


By far van der Rohe’s best-known furniture piece, the Barcelona chair was designed in conjunction with his close collaborator Lilly Reich for the International Exposition of 1929, held in Barcelona, Spain.

FARNSWORTH HOUSE The house was was first designed as a getaway for Dr. Edith Farnsworth in Plano, Ill. in 1945. The home wasn't actually constructed until 1951, but it was so innovative for its time that the Museum of Modern Art exhibited a model of the home in 1947.

MR CHAISE Created in 1927 for the Weissenhof exhibit in Stuttgart, Germany the tubular design of the MR chaise is said to be van der Rohe’s take on the iron rocking chair.


The gallery, located in Berlin, is said to be inspired by a design van der Rohe originally did for the Bacardi headquarters in Cuba. Since the rum giant's office never came to fruition due to the Cuban revolution, van der Rohe's plans were repurposed in what is now one of Berlin’s most recognizable buildings.

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