Marcel Breuer in Bristol – Arnolfini

The Promise is the title of the current show on at the Arnolfini in Bristol. The show makes links between international contemporary art and the city both by showing new works and by drawing attention to the design history of the city itself. In particular there are a collection of architectural models from major development projects during the last century that cast an particular light on changing ideas about what a city might be.

Amongst these projects are those involving the Bauhaus furniture designer and architect Marcel Breuer. Breuer arrived in England in 1935. Bristol furniture manufacturer Crofton Gane who was a member of the Design and Industries Association was actively interested in Modernism and had visited the Bauhaus some years earlier. He saw the opportunity to involve Breuer in producing new designs for his company.

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Architectural model of the P E Gane Pavilion, designed by Marcel Breuer for the Royal Agricultural Show in Ashton Court, Bristol, 1935. The pavilion provided a series of rooms to display furniture designed by Breuer for Gane. Model: Max Gane, 2010.IMG_2479.JPGIMG_2478.JPG

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Furniture by Marcel Breuer from the Gane House in Bristol, home of furniture manufacturer Crofton Gane. Gane commissioned Breuer in 1935 to gut and remodel his house and furnish it. With the exception of the aluminium side chair, all these pieces were made by PE Gane. On loan from the Ken Stradling Collection/Gane Trust.

Alongside the Gane Pavillion project, Crofton Gane commissioned Breuer to remodel and furnish his home in Westbury Park, Bristol. The result was a groundbreaking show house reported in the architectural and design press. The furniture in the Arnolfini show was all made for the house with the exception of the aluminium chair. Designs from both projects were put into production by Gane but many of these pieces are one-offs.

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Desk and chair from the living room of the Gane House, Bristol, Marcel Breuer, 1935. The chairs were also used in the Gane Pavilion. Made by P E Gane and Co. On loan from the Ken Stradling Collection/Gane Trust.

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