Cesca Chair, a timeless design that still holds up

Cesca Chair, a timeless design that still holds up

If you want to save time, here is a link to Design Within Reach that sells the Marcel Bruer Cesca Chair

Cesca Chairs



This chair with a woman's name has been around for 92 years and is still as fresh and modern as when it was first created. We've been seeing it everywhere lately. Want to know more?

It looks simple: a chromed steel structure with a cantilevered seat, cane, and wooden frame, like the backrest that rests lightly on two legs. But it is not simple at all. It is one of the icons of 20th-century design and one of the symbols of the Bauhaus. Many iconic pieces deserve this title, such as the Acapulco chair or the Eames Lounge Chair, but the Cesca chair has been a source of controversy ever since it was designed in 1928. And the truth is that even today, it still maintains that youthful freshness of the happy 20s and decorating with it is (and will continue to be) fashionable.


The authorship of its design is assigned to Marcel Breuer, a Hungarian architect, and designer of the most influential of the Bauhaus school. He designed it in 1928, taking a step forward in the design of chairs, and is that the Cesca chair (although it was not yet called so) rested on only two legs. A real breakthrough in the world of design. Six years earlier, he had already taken his first steps with tubular structures. Then, in 1925, he created the Wassily chair, an armchair also with a steel structure.

While in 1929, Michael Thonet (famous for his chair nº 14) started the production of Breuer's design under the name B32. On the other hand, the Dutchman Mart Stam presented a similar design in Germany in 1927. And that's where the controversy began because both designers (Breuer and Stam) went to trial for the authorship of the tubular chair. In the end, Stam won, who remained as the precursor of the 'Cantilever' technique, and Thonet began to produce his design in 1931 as the S43 chair. After the court case, Thonet also began producing the B33, a variant of the B32, attributed in its catalogs to Stam.

Returning to Breuer, what happened to his design? Although Stam won the trial, the Hungarian Bauhaus designer went down in the annals of history as its designer.

In the 1950s, Breuer assigned the rights to the B32 to Dino Gavina in Foligno, Italy. It was then christened the Cesca chair in honor of Breuer's daughter, Francesca's name. In 1968, the firm Knoll (New York), which specializes in modern design, bought Gavina and the rights to produce the chair, which is still sold today. It is easy to find replicas and imitations of the Cesca chair.


If the Cesca chair stands out for anything, it is a very versatile piece due to its cantilever, which makes it a flexible and comfortable chair, ideal for any space. You can put several Cesca chairs in the dining room or place it in the study area; it will give your home style and become the center of attention.

Currently, the original Cesca chair must bear the KnollStudio logo and Marcel Breuer's signature on the base (on the back that rests on the floor of the steel tube), and its price is that of one of the icons of interior design. On the Knoll website, you can find it for 931 dollars. In Spain, it is marketed by several furniture stores specializing in design pieces ranging from 1,000 to more than 1,400 €.

"The lightness provided by the steel tube and the refinement of the woven vegetable grid make this piece a real sculpture," says interior designer Erico Navazo, for whom the key to introducing this object into a space is to "practice the right mix." Combining it in the environment with very diverse furniture and letting its lightness do the rest so that the balance works.

Navazo also provides another interesting fact. "Although it is a design from the late twenties, we have been able to see it in numerous periods, being the seventies its most memorable decade. To me, it takes me to cultured and sophisticated spaces, with a very timeless imprint". A prodigy that combines craftsmanship and industrial design; one of those classics that know how to reinvent themselves over time and never lose an iota of freshness or validity.


Due to its innovative, modern, and stylish design, Marcel Breuer's chair has many variations. From the original design, with a grid seat and wooden frame, to adding armrests, finding it upholstered (also with armrests) or even a mix, with an upholstered seat and a cane backrest. Anything goes for a chair that fits equally well in a corner of a room or as a timeless companion to your dining table.


If you want an original Cesca chair but cheaper, you can always try to buy it second-hand. However, there are replicas and imitations of the Cesca chair that look like the Breuer chair. Anyway, this chair deserves a place in any corner of your house.

Finally, a word of advice: know which variety to invest in. "There are a lot of versions or copies of this chair, but without a doubt, it's always better to buy the one covered by the production license [in 1968, this license was bought by Knoll]. These models do not lose value and respect the intellectual property, as well as being of excellent quality," concludes Navazo.

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