Marcel Lajos Breuer was a designer and architect best known for his design of the iconic Wassily Chair, as well as his contribution to modern architecture. He left art school after finding out he didn’t like the study of painting and became an apprentice to a Viennese architect instead. Throughout his career, Breuer’s architecture and design underwent several, but distinct and recognizable phases. Besides being an architect and an educator, he was also a very good furniture designer. Ultimately, Breuer made a huge impact on modernist architecture and design. In fact, his furniture designs are so influential and popular that they are still being produced by some furniture companies today.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was a German-American architect who was best known for “skin and bones” architecture, as he called it. Mies never had any formal training but he grew up helping his father with construction work. By the age of 15, he was already apprenticed to a number of architects around town. In 1913, Mies opened up his own shop in Lichterfelde. The First World War derailed his career for a little while as Mies served in the military. After the war, he came back and started to design in a more modernist style. By the mid-1920s, Mies had established himself as a leading avant-garde architect.

If we think of the aesthetics of the 80’s, we immediately make a mental image of bright colours, graphic patterns, and asymmetrical shapes. We can thank the Memphis Group for this. One of them was Ettore Sottsass, an Italian architect and designer. After working with his father on restoring destroyed buildings during the war, he moved to Milan to set up his own design studio. During this time, he experimented with working on a variety of media. Sottsass, with his experimental mind, created the Memphis Group as a way to join forces with his colleagues who share his design principles. Ultimately, he changed the way people see mundane objects.

Eero Saarinen was a Finnish American architect and designer. His famous designs would include the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri and the Womb Chair. This neo-futuristic designer started receiving critical recognition when he was working with his father. He then went on and won several awards. The most notable of these awards was from an architectural competition for what would later be known as the Gateway Arch National Park. Aside from his architectural works, Eero also designed furniture, oftentimes including them in his architectural designs of building interiors. Despite his relatively short career, Eero is an indelible mark on architecture and his furniture designs are highly sought after up to this day.

Le Corbusier was born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret in Switzerland. He eventually acquired a French citizenship and got the pseudonym: Le Corbusier. Even though Jeanneret had no formal training as an architect, he designed numerous structures throughout Europe. Following his father’s footsteps, he first studied watch engraving under Charles L’Eplattenier. Ironically, it was his teacher who got him into architecture. When he moved to Paris, he became busy with exhibits, lectures, publishing books, and architectural projects. Le Corbusier conceptualized new ways to classify furniture. Despite the controversies of his socio-political ties, one could argue that he played an immense role in the birth of modern design and architecture.