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Columbus and Wohnbedarf license

By 22 October 2019October 14th, 2021News

In the early months of 1933 Milanese entrepreneur Angelo Luigi Colombo decided to meet the architect Marcel Breuer to discuss his tubular steel furniture. In the metal laboratories at the Bauhaus, starting from the mid-twenties, the architect first experimented with the Wassily armchair (1925) and more importantly with the cantilever chair (1926).

On a business card, Breuer notes for Colombo the name of the newly formed Zurich based company Wohnbedarf, which was founded by the historian and critic Sigfried Giedion along with the architect Werner Moser, that held the rights for the industrial production of his furniture.

A company without a factory – an “editor” so to speak – one which relies on specialized and competent manufacturers, like the Swiss based company Embru in Rüti. Following Breuer’s suggestion, Angelo Luigi Colombo signs an agreement to realize exclusively and to produce under licence, with its Columbus brand, the furniture for Breuer and other architects of the Bauhaus and of the Swiss-German school, such as Flora Steiger and Werner Moser.

In 1933 Wohnbedarf, whose visual identity was designed by Max Bill, opened a shop in Zurich, also designed by Breuer, that became an important reference for the industry distribution and remained such for many years, well after the Second World War. In the same period, he had also started producing furniture by Alvar Aalto, Alfred Roth and by Giedion himself.

The exhibition Flessibili splendori. Columbus and the tubular steel furniture in on show until November, 9th 2019.
From Tuesday to Friday 10am – 1pm, Saturday 3pm – 7pm.