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Limited Edition Wassily Chair for Aram's sixtieth

Limited Edition Wassily Chair for Aram's sixtieth

To celebrate our sixtieth anniversary, the team have worked closely with Knoll to develop a limited edition of Marcel Breuer's iconic Wassily chair in a black canvas special finish. We have produced twenty-four chairs (for 2024), each imprinted with an ‘ARAM 60 2024’ engraving.

On Thursday 9 April 1964, Aram Designs Limited, a new type of furniture and design showroom, opened its doors on the Kings Road in Chelsea. Zeev Aram, a recent graduate from the Central School of Art and Design (now Central Saint Martins), set out and succeeded in introducing the British market to Modernist furniture for the first time; with manufacturers such as Gavina, Flos, Zanotta and Artemide and designs by Marcel Breuer, the Castiglioni brothers, Le Corbusier, Carlo Scarpa, Vico Magistretti, to name a few, being displayed in the showroom.

Aram Designs Showroom at 57 Kings Road

On opening day, Zeev recalled that the first sale made was to Claude Virgin, a photographer for Vogue, who came into the store and purchased one of Breuer's Wassily chairs. Below is a slightly later photo of Zeev with the Wassily, a design he continued to appreciate for its beautiful form, historical importance, and its personal significance to the company, as the first design he sold.

Zeev Aram with the Wassily Chair

Therefore, when considering a special way to celebrate our sixtieth anniversary the Wassily felt like an obvious choice. Working closely with Knoll, we have produced twenty-four editions of the Wassily in black canvas – a finish that has never been produced before. It pays homage to the black leather Wassily sold to Claude Virgin but also takes inspiration from the first iteration of the chair that Breuer created in 1925 which was made from a natural-coloured heavy-duty cotton.

Aram 60 Limited Edition Wassily Chair in black canvas

In 1999, Zeev’s daughter Ruth and son Daniel joined him at Aram to take the company forward. Sadly, Ruth passed away in 2018, followed by Zeev in 2021. However, their remarkable legacy now lives on under the guidance of Daniel, supported by our experienced team of twenty-five. Below is a photo of Daniel, Ruth and Zeev sat on the Lota sofa by Eileen Gray in our store on Covent Garden’s Drury Lane, when it was undergoing renovation works at the time.

Daniel, Ruth and Zeev Aram on Eileen Gray's Lota Sofa at Drury Lane in 1999

Regarding the limited edition, Daniel says

“The limited edition Wassily chair pays tribute to the remarkable history of Aram and holds a personal sentiment, as the very first piece my father sold when he launched Aram 60 years ago. My father sold the Wassily chair in 1964 in black leather hide, which is the finish most Wassily chairs have been sold in. However, Breuer originally created Wassily using heavy-duty waxed cotton fabric, so we thought it was apt to use canvas for this special edition, especially as the black canvas has not been used before. We are excited to unveil this special edition to the design world in celebration of sixty years of Aram and look forward to many more anniversaries to come.”

Below is a photo of Daniel sat on the Wassily in 1981.

Daniel Aram at 17 sitting in the Wassily chair

Wassily Chair Aram 60 Edition

Aram 60 Limited Edition Wassily Chair

The Wassily chair, originally known as the Model B3 chair, emerged in 1925 from the Bauhaus movement, reflecting Breuer's visionary approach to form, function, and materials. The chair stands as an enduring testament to the innovative spirit and transformative power of modernist design. Below is a young Breuer, sat on the chair.

Marcel Breuer sitting in his Wassily Chair

One of the most striking features of the Wassily is its construction from tubular steel - a material which at the time was more commonly associated with industrial applications than with domestic furniture. Inspired by the handlebars of his Adler bicycle, Breuer experimented with the malleability and strength of steel tubing, pioneering a new approach to furniture design in the process. By bending and welding the steel tubes into geometric forms, he created a chair that was not only visually striking but also lightweight, durable and remarkably comfortable.

Each chair is engraved with ARAM 60 2024 on the frame

Breuer's design philosophy, encapsulated in the famous principle "form follows function," is evident in every aspect of the Wassily chair. It’s simple, geometric shapes serve a dual purpose: providing ergonomic comfort while maintaining an elegant aesthetic. The absence of ornamentation emphasises the chair’s functionality, allowing its form to speak for itself.

The form speaks for itself: Aram 60 Wassily Chair

The Model B3 was first sold by ‘Standard Möbel’ Breuer’s company founded in 1926. The main buyers of the chair at this time were the Bauhaus itself, and unfortunately it wasn’t hugely successful. From the late 1950s onwards, Breuer made a considerable effort to reissue the design, which would make it the first piece of Bauhaus furniture to be reissued post war.

Aram 60 Limited Edition Wassily Chair

In 1961, a relationship with Dino Gavina of Gavina S.p.A formed and in February 1962 they signed a contract for the reissue of seven of Breuer’s furniture pieces, including the Model B3, which soon became known as the Wassily chair. It is thought that artist Wassily Kandinsky liked a prototype given to him by Breuer, which Dino Gavina used as inspiration for the name. Over the next years, the Wassily became an enduring landmark of product design, and it was a huge success in Europe and the USA. In 1968 Knoll International bought Gavina S.p.A along with all of its licences. Knoll still produces the Wassily, as the design remains an iconic piece of modernist furniture today in 2024.

Aram 60 Limited Edition Wassily Chair

We are grateful to Knoll for facilitating this collaboration, allowing us to commemorate our milestone with a special product that celebrates our history perfectly. The Aram 60th anniversary special edition Wassily is on display at 110 Drury Lane now, and available online or in-store whilst stock lasts.