Mart Stam once declared, “We have to change the world.” His aesthetically pure tubular steel cantilever chair (a chair that has no back legs) indeed changed the world of 20th century design. The Dutch architect and urban planner’s avant-garde design, which he showed a sketch of on the back of a napkin at a dinner party, spearheaded Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer’s own, immediate efforts in coming up with refined variations of a cantilever chair. An entire and entirely new genre of chair design was thus born and Stam and Breuer were embroiled in a controversial copyright lawsuit over the cantilever chair, both claiming to be the inventor of the design. Stam won the lawsuit.
The eponymous chair in question, the Mart Stam Cantilever Chair (1926; Stam Side Chair) was first conceived by Stam made out of gas pipes fitted together in a continuous line. Its angular, cubic shape was a product of Stam’s architectural background. The cantilever chair is now a ubiquitous sight in offices all around the world.
The chair shown above is a replica.