Why Our Version is the Best:
  • #304 Stainless Steel Frame (not chrome plated steel)
  • Top grain Italian leathers
  • Real leather belting (not nylon)
  • Matching buttons and leather piping throughout
  • Free Shipping and No Sales Taxes
  • Exclusive: Powdercoating in 8 colors are available (for an extra charge)
  • Specify your own Fabrics (for an extra charge)
Our Item No. MC-1001
Base Price $ 1,500
Overall Dimensions: 30.5"w x 31.5"d x 31"h
Seat Height: 18 inches
Seat Dimensions: 30.5"w x 18"d
Weight: 49 pounds

We wrote this review and comparison guide to help you figure out who makes the best Barcelona Style Chair. We have only highlighted 4 sellers of these iconic chairs, the primary contenders if you will, and we hope support our belief that our version of this chair has the best value proposition on the market.

Summary: Modern Classics vs. Others

Feature Modern Classics Design Within Reach Room & Board Amazon/Low Market
Exhibition (Barcelona) Chair $ 1,500 $ 5,592 $ 2,799 $ 599
Overall Rating
5.00 out of 5
5.00 out of 5
2.00 out of 5
1.00 out of 5
Chair Dimensions
5.00 out of 5
4.00 out of 5
2.00 out of 5
1.00 out of 5
Upholstery Materials
5.00 out of 5
4.00 out of 5
1.00 out of 5
1.00 out of 5
Chair Frame
5.00 out of 5
4.00 out of 5
1.00 out of 5
1.00 out of 5
Chair Cushion
4.00 out of 5
4.00 out of 5
1.00 out of 5
1.00 out of 5
Strap and Snaps
5.00 out of 5
4.00 out of 5
1.00 out of 5
1.00 out of 5
Custom Options
5.00 out of 5
2.00 out of 5
1.00 out of 5
1.00 out of 5

Detailed Comparison: Modern Classics vs. Others

FEATURE OVERVIEW

 Modern Classics  

Our Barcelona style lounge chair we call the Exhibition Chair is offered in top grain Italian leather, a frame made of solid bar, #304 Stainless Steel, polished to a mirror-like finish. For an extra charge, we offer powdercoating the frame in 8 standard colors. Prices includes Free Shipping and No Sales Taxes. You may also provide your own upholstery materials for your specific project. The list prices for the Modern Classics brand are significantly lower than all other comparable brands, most notably the Knoll chair sold by Design within Reach (DWR). Furthermore, we do not charge for sales taxes and standard shipping is free to the contiguous US. Lead Times: Due to the high demand for these chairs, we often times are out of stock on some colors. We weld and polish the frames in the USA and do all the final assembly and packaging here too. There is about 40 hours of labor that goes into each chair. Most times there is under a 8 week lead time.

5.00 out of 5
 Design Within Reach 

Design Within Reach (DWR) sells the original replica of these chairs as made by Knoll in Italy (aka., the "Signature" or "Barcelona Chair" model.) DWR offer their Barcelona chairs are offered in top grain Spinneybeck leather in 6 colors and a chrome-plated steel frame. Each piece has an signature etch of Mies van der Rohe, which is their trademark. DWR prices do not include free Shipping and sales taxes will be added, since DWR has a store in every state. They do not sell a loveseat or sofa version of this chair. The list price for the DWR brand is significantly higher than all other comparable brands. Lead Times: The six standard leather colors are generally in stock.

5.00 out of 5
  Room and Board 

Room and Board sells an Italian made version of the Barcelona Chair, which they call the Seville. Offered in only 3 leather colors, this model would be our third choice for a Barcelona Style chair. Room and Board prices do not include free Shipping and sales taxes usually will be added, since DWR has a store in most states. They do not sell a loveseat or sofa version of this chair. The list price for the Seville is about twice as high as the Modern Classics brand. Lead Times: Room and Board chairs are generally in stock.

2.00 out of 5
  Low-Market Chairs 

Barcelona style chairs can be found all over the Internet, and are notably because their prices are well below $600. The low market chairs are offered in one or two colors: black and white, and are note known for the use of soft foam, real leather, or correct dimensions. Their chairs use a chrome-plated steel frame. You can also find loveseat or sofa versions of this chair, with similar quality issues. Lead times: Generally in stock.

1.00 out of 5

CHAIR DIMENSIONS

 Modern Classics  

Our frame dimensions are modeled from original 1964 engineering - production drawings, and are the closest to the designer's original intent of the model updated from his original 1929 version model. Our seat cushions are 18.5 inch deep, the deepest among the competitors and our seat slope extends from 17 inches in the front to 13 inches at the back, allowing it to be easy to get in and out of the chair while adding an extra comfortable sitting experience.

5.00 out of 5
 Design Within Reach 

The Knoll brand chair dimensions have been altered through the years. The current version has a very sloped seat, making it difficult to get in and out of the chair, along with a poor sitting position.

4.00 out of 5
  Room and Board 

The Seville frame dimensions are slightly smaller in overall size than our version and the curve on the back legs is not correct when compared to the Signature version.

2.00 out of 5
  Low-Market Chairs 

Their chair frame dimensions seem slightly smaller in overall size than our version and the curve on the back legs is not correct. Not to specifications.

1.00 out of 5

UPHOLSTERY MATERIALS

 Modern Classics  

We offer 20 imported Italian leather colors as standard, with the option of providing your own leather or selecting from our wide range of color and texture selection of stock European leather colors for a minor surcharge. We also offer our exclusive Boucle Fabric in 20 colors for our chairs.

5.00 out of 5
  Design Within Reach 

The chair that DWR sells only has a choice of 6 leather colors as standard, although there is the option to selects from the entire Spinneybeck leather collection for a substantial surcharge. Not offered in Fabric or in your own materials.

4.00 out of 5
  Room and Board 

Room and Board only offer 3 leather colors, are not offered in Fabric, custom leather or in your own materials. They cannot even give you a leather sample to take home nor can they send out leather samples.

1.00 out of 5
  Low-Market Chairs 

These models are typically offered in only 1 or 2 leather colors: black and white. Upholstery might be leather, bonded leather, or vinyl; in any case, not quality A level Italian or USA leather.

1.00 out of 5

CHAIR FRAME

 Modern Classics  

Our Frames are precision formed with No. 304 grade stainless steel and hand-polished to a mirror-like finish. By using higher grade #304 stainless steel we achieve a more natural appearance metal feature than plated chrome as well as a more environmentally safe steel compared to “plated chrome”. Stainless steel is easy to maintain, inherently corrosive resistant and repairable by hand polishing offering a near life-time of trouble fee use. Besides the hand-polished look, we can make our frame with a powder coated finish in matte black, matte white or matte bronze.

5.00 out of 5
 Design Within Reach 

Their chair frame is polished chrome hand-ground and hand-buffed to a mirror finish. The chrome plating process of metals has been noted as a generally unsafe manufacturing process for our an environmentally and when scratched or chipped, the steel will rust and it cannot be easily repaired, whereas stainless steel is easy to maintain, inherently corrosive resistant and repairable by hand polishing offering a near life-time of trouble fee use. The Signature Model has sharp corners on all frame edges, because they use mild steel. In addition, each DWR chair has the Mies van der Rohe signature etched in the back leg, which is their trademark. There are no options besides the polished chrome look, i.e., no powdercoating.

4.00 out of 5
  Room and Board 

Their frame is chrome plated to a shiny blue-tint finish. Once again, the chrome plating process of metals has been noted as a generally unsafe manufacturing process for our an environmentally and when scratched or chipped, the steel will rust and it cannot be easily repaired, whereas stainless steel is easy to maintain, inherently corrosive resistant and repairable by hand polishing offering a near life-time of trouble fee use. There are no options besides the polished chrome look, i.e., no powdercoating.

1.00 out of 5
  Low-Market Chairs 

Their chair frame is lower grade stainless steel, machined-polished and has a dull, milky finish. Does not look like chrome or very good stainless steel. Some models use hollow tubing, not solid bar. There are no options besides the polished chrome look, i.e., no powdercoating.

1.00 out of 5

CHAIR CUSHION

 Modern Classics  

Our Cushions are upholstered with 40 individual panels, which are hand-cut, hand-welted, and hand-tufted with leather buttons about the size of a U.S. dime coin. Our Cushions have leather on top, back and sides, with no seams on the front and top corners. Our back and seat cushions are slightly taller and deeper to the frame, so they look good when someone is seated in them (no folding inward or excess pillowing of the cushions) or when the chair is unoccupied. Our back cushion has the proper curve to match the frame. We use luxury grade HR (High Resilient) Multi-Density Foam in our cushion construction giving our customers a very comfortable sitting experience - the most comfortable on the market! This foam is an environmentally and people safe material produced by a major world-recognized foam manufacturer. Our foam is rated by independent certified testing laboratories and tested for commercial safety grade fire and smoke standards for Europe and USA. Additionally, the foam is wrapped with Dacron polyester fiberfill for additional softness and seat comfort.

4.00 out of 5
 Design Within Reach 

The Signature Cushions are upholstered with 40 individual panels, which are hand-cut, hand-welted, and hand-tufted with leather buttons about the size of a U.S. dime coin. Cushions have leather on top, back and sides, with no seams on the front and top corners. Their current chair version have shorter back and seat cushions and appear to overly exposed the frame when seated in it. Back cushion has the proper curve to match the frame; seat cushion has scalloped back edge to match the curve of the frame. Because they use extremely hard foam, their leather has a very tight fit. They say they use highly resilient urethane foam with down-like Dacron polyester fiberfill on the outside. However, their chair cushions have extremely high foam density, which make their cushions extra hard and not very comfortable.

4.00 out of 5
  Room and Board 

The Room and Board Seville model seat cushion is too short, so the front frame is exposed plus is makes it uncomfortable to sit in. Their back cushion does not have the proper curve to match the frame; seat cushion is not scalloped back edge to match the curve of the frame. Their chair is upholstered with 40 individual panels, but use corded piping between the panels. Corded piping is a fake way to create the hand-welting, and are uncomfortable to sit on. They most likely use highly resilient urethane foam with down-like Dacron polyester fiberfill on the outside. Foam density is super low, making the cushions extra soft and not very comfortable.

1.00 out of 5
  Low-Market Chairs 

These models is seat and back cushions are too big for the frame, making it uncomfortable to sit in. Back cushion does not have the proper curve to match the frame; seat cushion is not scalloped back edge to match the curve of the frame. These models are upholstered with 40 individual panels, but use corded piping between the panels. Corded piping is a fake way to create the hand-welting, and are uncomfortable to sit on. Buttons about the size of a quarter and some models have visible from the back. These models uses inexpensive foam with no Dacron polyester fiberfill wrapped on the on the outside of the foam. Foam density is high, making the cushions extra hard and not very comfortable.

1.00 out of 5

STRAP AND SNAP DETAILS

 Modern Classics  

Our chair straps are dyed to match the specified upholstery color - 17 straps are used for cushion support. Straps are attached to the chair's frame with sturdy high grade anti-corrosive Aluminum rivets. Back cushions are held in place with 4 snaps; seat cushions are held in place with three snaps. Snaps are stainless steel. Our straps core material is comprised of a natural felt core composed of wool, bamboo and polyester material. This achieves some major benefits of fire resistance and smoke accumulation rate without the use of chemical fire retardant chemicals as well as stronger belt tensile / shear strength and no stretching, which can occur with leather belt straps if the wrong type of leather is used.

5.00 out of 5
 Design Within Reach 

The Knoll chair uses leather straps that are finished on one side. Back cushions is held in place with 4 snaps; seat cushion is held in place with three snaps. TSnaps are zinc plated steel, not stainless steel.<

4.00 out of 5
  Room and Board 

Their chair's upholstery straps are cowhide leather belting, dyed to match specified upholstery color - 17 straps are used for cushion support. Straps are attached with zinc-plated rivets. Back cushion is held in place with only 2 snaps; seat cushion is held in place with three snaps. Snaps are zinc plated steel.

1.00 out of 5
  Low-Market Chairs 

These models upholstery straps are bonded leather belting or hollow tubes, dyed to match specified upholstery color - 17 straps are used for cushion support. Straps are attached with zinc-plated rivets. Back cushion is held in place with only 2 snaps; seat cushion is held in place with three buckles. Snaps are zinc plated steel.

1.00 out of 5

CUSTOM OPTIONS

 Modern Classics  

We offer the extreme flexibility on this model for customizing, with modest up-charges. First, there is the upholstery material. You can provide your own fabric or leather. You can ask us to check with our leather supplier for a specific leather color. We can powder coat the frame using one of our standard colors, or your own selection.

5.00 out of 5
 Design Within Reach 

DWR offers limited flexibility on this model for customizing. You can provide your own select from a broad range of Spinneybeck Leathers, for an additional up-charge. There is no other frame choice than chrome or stainless steel.

2.00 out of 5
  Room and Board 

This seller offers no customizing options. There is no other frame choice than chrome or stainless steel.

1.00 out of 5
  Low-Market Chairs 

These models offer no customizing options. There is no other frame choice than chrome or stainless steel.

1.00 out of 5

Product Description

Our Exhibition chair was inspired by the Mies van der Rohe lounge chair known the world over as the "Barcelona Chair". Besides the leather choices, there are also other ways to customize our chairs, . We can powder coat the frame in one of six colors (see below), or you can provide your own material. So while there are many so called replicas or reproductions on the market, we believe our version of the Barcelona Chair is the finest and most comfortable on the market.

Our frame is constructed from premium grade solid bar stock stainless steel. All joints are fully welded, sealed, and seamless. The frame is hand-polished to a mirror finish. Four snaps attach the back cushion to the frame; 2 snaps and a belt attach the bottom cushion to the frame. Our chair cushion surfaces consist of 40 individual top-grain leather panels; each piece is cut and hand-sewn using a hand-rolling welting technique called Capitone, which not found in other similar chairs on the market. (Capitone is the upholstery technique style cushions: tufted pleated squares or sections with buttons or tufting points that are pulled through the seat cushion interior core (foam). This technique of sewing has been around for centuries and found in garment designs, furniture, car and horse carriage seats, etc.) The seat and back cushions are filled with high resilient - high density polyurethane foam. The cushions are supported by heavy saddle leather straps riveted to the frame and whose top and side edges match upholstery color. Front and top corners of the cushions have no exposed seams.

LEATHER CHOICES

Modern Classics Furniture offers Leather in three price levels. Each of the these levels feature:

  • Top-grain Italian leather from Grade A hides
  • Semi aniline-dyed (standard) and 100% aniline-dyed (premium)
  • Made in Italy and imported to our factory
  • Have a UV and Moisture Guard built into the dye
  • Are not split hides or bonded leather

We are happy to mail you a physical piece of leather so you can hold it in your hands.

Below are the leather colors we offer for our Barcelona Style Chairs, Footstool and Cushion Sets. Our Top-Grain 1 leathers (denoted with the prefix L1) are top-grain, semi-aniline-dyed, corrected with a slight embossing. Our Top-Grain 2 leathers (denoted with the prefix L2) are top-grain, 100% aniline-dyed and have a soft feel to them and much of the hides natural grain patterns are retained. Our Top-Grain 3 leathers (denoted with the prefix L3) also are top-grain, 100% aniline-dyed and have a soft feel to them and much of the hides natural grain patterns are retained. We do not use split hides leather. Leather thickness is generally 1.0 - 1.2 mm depending on application of seating component for stretching and tailoring the upholstery design and condition. All three levels of Leathers are made in Italian Tanneries, and are considered equally durable, have a UV and moisture guard built into the dye and are ideal for both home or commercial use.

Click on any of these images for an enlarged view.

Other Metal Frame Color Choices

Besides the standard #304 Polished Stainless Steel frames shown above, we do our own in-house powder coating over the stainless steel frame. We offer 8 standard colors and there is a $100 extra charge for the custom leg finishing.

Click on any of these swatches to see an enlarged view.

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