Lilly Reich

Lilly Reich (16 June 1885–14 December 1947) was a German modernist designer. Lilly Reich was born in Berlin, Germany in the year 1885. She started her career as a designer of textiles and women's clothes. This experience was to be formative for her - giving her a particular interest in contrasting textures and materials, as well as specific skills with regard to the use of textiles in furniture. In 1912 she joined the Deutscher Werkbund, a government sponsored organization dedicated to the promotion of German-made products and designs. This was to be a lasting passion and recurring theme in her career. She opened her own studio in 1914 at the age of 29, quickly developing a good professional reputation. So good, in fact, that six years later in 1920 she was made the first woman director of the Deutsche Werkbund. It was her responsibility to plan and curate design exhibits hosted by the Werkbund and intended to promote German designers. One of the exhibitions that she was responsible for took thousands of German designs to a show at the Museum of Arm in Newark, New Jersey. The show itself was poorly received, because in the years between the First and Second World Wars anything or anyone German was poorly received in the U.S. This was particularly true immediately before the Second World War. In spite of the inhospitable climate, the show had a profound effect on American design, and its influences may been seen in the work of U.S. designers after this date Through her involvement with the Werkbund Reich, Lilly also met Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. In 1926 she moved from Frankfurt to Berlin to work with Mies. She was Van Der Rohe's personal and professional partner for 13 years from 1925 until his emigration to the U.S. in 1938. It is said that they were constant companions, working together on curating and implementing exhibitions for the Werkbund, as well as designing modern furniture as part of larger architectural commissions, such as the Barcelona Pavilion in 1929 and the Tugendhat House in Brno. Two of their best known modern furniture designs from this period are the Barcelona chair and Brno Chair. When Mies van der Rohe became the director of the Bauhaus School of design and architecture in 1930, Lilly Reich joined him there as one of few female teachers on staff. Reich taught interior design and furniture design until the late 1930s. The German born interior and product designer Lilly Reich was given some credit for her modernist designs 64 years after her death. The MoMa in NYC presented a series of discussion groups in 2010 on women who were artists of the Bauhaus period. Otherwise, she would still be barely mentioned as a footnote. Lilly Reich began her career in textile design which was the acceptable professional path for women designers during the early part of the twentieth century. She played an integral part during the Bauhaus movement in Dessau and Berlin in Germany and served on professional boards, such as the Deutscher Werkbund (German Work Federation). Lilly Reich managed her own interior design firm and was a faculty member at the Berlin University of Arts.[1 In 1938, just before the Second World War, Mies emigrated to the U.S.. Reich continued to manage his affairs in Germany, until her death. She visited him in the U.S. in September 1939, but did not stay, returning instead to Berlin. Her studio was bombed in 1943 and she was sent to a forced labour organization where she remained until 1945. After her release at the end of the war, she was instrumental in the revival of the Deutsche Werkbund, but died in Berlin before its formal re-establishment in 1950.

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BAUHAUS CLASSICS - Lilly Reich - LR30 - Pier-mirror in chromed steel

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Lilly Reich 1927

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"In 1927, Lilly Reich designed a tall, thin mirror, with its reflecting surface supported by one single chromed steel tubular structure which bends to act as a floor support. It appears for the ...