The Breuer Chair with Arms is an iconic and most valuable product of the Breuer (pronounced like “brewer”) Furniture Company. It was created by Marcel Breuer – a Bauhaus trained architect who designed both buildings and furniture, most notably for his partnership with Walter Gropius at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. It is now one of the company’s most valuable assets and has been celebrated as a design icon ever since its heyday in the 1940s.
The Breuer chair is an early (1937) exemplar of the use of new materials like tubular steel and fiberglass in mass-produced furniture. The tubular steel framing with upholstered seat, back, armrests, and base was used in hundreds or thousands of floor models for commercial sale.
On the other hand it is also made from tubular steel but features a narrower frame than the seated Breuer chair. It has flat arms that taper inward at their ends to help remind you that it’s just an armchair with no wishful thinking about ever being able to recline in its comfy embrace.
If there is a Breuer chair and an armchair, make sure to get the chair in front: When it comes to seating arrangements, always place the more formal furniture in front of the less formal furniture.
Breuers are designed for comfort. Armchairs are designed for elegance and classiness (and to add contrast). So if there’s a choice between them, choose Breuer couches when you’re emphasizing coziness, and armchairs when you want your living room or your bedroom to have a sense of refined sophistication. For example, avoid putting couches next to sofas. That can feel too informal for a family home or even a house party where guests will be dressed formally.