In a collaboration with the Mies van der Rohe House (Lemke House), and as a pendant to the series of exhibitions and events currently being staged there, entitled MIES – SITZEN UND LIEGEN (Mies – Sitting and Reclining), the Kunstgewerbemuseum is presenting a special exhibition at the Kulturforum, spotlighting the furniture for sitting and reclining on which Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed especially for the house.

In 1984, Martha Lemke bequeathed a collection of furniture to the Kunstgewerbemuseum. The furniture had been specially made for the house which Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed for the Lemkes in 1932, in the Weissensee district of Berlin. The leading modernist architect and former director of the Bauhaus was also involved in the design of the furnishings, along with Friedrich Hirz and Lilly Reich, Van der Rohe’s collaborator for many years. The Lemkes only lived in the house until 1945, however, and in the upheavals of the post-war period, the house and its furniture eventually became separated.

The pieces from the Martha Lemke bequest, now in Kunstgewerbemuseum’s Design Collection, are currently being shown in a special exhibition. Among the items on display are a sofa from Martha Lemke’s room, a desk from the study, and two leather-covered wooden stools, each of a different design. The furniture is minimalist in style, but the Macassar ebony and lemonwood veneers and the light-coloured leather upholstery impart a note of luxury.

The furniture is placed in context by a series of photographs specially created by the Berlin art photographer, Michael Wesely (b. 1963). For Doubleday. Mies van der Rohe Haus. (1933-2018), Wesely has fused historic black-and-white photographs of the furnishings of the Lemkes’ home with contemporary photos of the building.

The Mies van der Rohe Haus is staging the series MIES – SITZEN UND LIEGEN in 2018 in the run-up to the Bauhaus centenary celebrations which will be taking place in 2019. The series examines practical, aesthetic and cultural-theoretical aspects of sitting and reclining, in a space created by one of the greatest architects of the 20th century.