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R.M. Schindler
(b. Austria, 1887-1953)

Unit Chair, 1934-36

Wood, metal, and fabric
Gift of Patricia Gebhard

Ahead of his time, Rudolph M. Schindler conceived of “units” – modular components – that could be assembled and rearranged according to the needs of the individual and conditions of any room. A unit chair, such as this one, could be joined with others to form a straight or L-shaped couch, or could stand on its own. Here, curved plywood is incorporated into the design twice: once to support the appended side table, and a second time to join the seat and back. These thin, curvilinear pieces stand in stark contrast to the volumetrically solid and massive forms, contributing to the sculptural quality of this chair. Schindler designed this piece for the Van Patten House (1934-35) in Silver Lake, Calif.