The Best Barcelona Chair Replica 2018 – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

Feb 14
A reconstruction of the 1929 German pavilion with the famous Barcelona chairs

The “Barcelona Chair” is the modern chair. It first appeared at the German Pavilion of the 1929 International Exposition, held that year in Barcelona, Spain. The chair was designed by two titans of the modernist movement; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich. Reich and Mies, who was once the director of architecture at the Bauhaus Design School in Germany, designed this chair to look flawless within Mies’s avant-garde buildings. The German Pavilion of 1929 became an instant icon of modernist architecture. The pavilion was constructed with sumptuous marbles, tinted glass and reflective pools. Mies’s showed the world that a design didn’t have to be ornate to be elegant. This same aesthetic was extended to the Barcelona chair. A set of these chairs were the only works of art in the pavilion save for a lone female nude sculpture by George Kolbe. They had a striking effect on viewers. Since 1929 interior designers have been using the Barcelona chair to create a similarly impressive look for their clients.

Model Price Rating
1 ArtisDecor Premium Lounge Chair and Ottoman made with Top Grain Aniline Leather $$$
2 MLF Pavilion Chair & Ottoman $$$
3 Coaster Home Furnishings Accent Chair $

This icon of Bauhaus design is still very popular today. People with good taste often pair two Barcelona chairs replicas together as a set. This is in homage to the original arrangement at the German pavilion. It’s also because this comfortable, upright chair encourages living room conversation. Its design allows for free movement of the arms and it has excellent back support. Additionally, It looks good in almost any setting. Because of its popularity, many replicas exist on the market. This makes it difficult to distinguish a good Barcelona replica chair from the riff-raff. In this guide we’ll discuss explore three different reproductions so that you can find the best Barcelona Chair Replica that will be worth your time and money. 

What to Look For:

A Barcelona Chair Replica Buyer’s Guide

The Knoll Barcelona chair

Pictured: The Knoll Barcelona® chair

The Knoll Company obtained the rights from Mies to manufacture the “original” Barcelona chair. With the original having a price tag of over $5500, it’s understandable that some may want to purchase a good replica that doesn’t break the bank. You can find replica chairs at a variety of prices ranging from budget options for good chairs made in China to about slight higher quality Barcelona chair replicas made in Italy. There are a variety of factors, besides labor cost, that determines the price.

  • Upholstery – One price-determining factor is the material used to upholster the chair. The seat of the Knoll original is made from 40 individual leather panels. These are hand welted and hand tufted. Some of the best replicas are also made from 40 panels as well. While not all replicas are made with these hand-added touches, the best ones are made with quality materials. When choosing a replica, make sure the back and underside of the seats are made with the same leather as the front of the seat. Some manufacturers cut costs by backing the chair with fabric or a lesser quality leather. Different kinds of leathers get used in the production of replicas. Knoll uses registered trademark spinneybeck® leather. Look for a high quality leather such as full-grain or top-grain aniline in a reproduction.
  • Upholstery Straps – The cushions of this chair sit on a latticework cradle of leather straps. Cheap reproductions use either a lower quality leather, or may not have a lattice work frame at all. If the chair is going for true to the original detail, it should have exactly 17 straps (8 on the back and 9 on the bottom), dyed the same color as the seat leather.
  • Cushions – The buttons and piping of the Barcelona chair contribute to its modern look. There is no visible stitching which makes the chair look smooth and seamless. The original chair is filled with urethane foam and polyester fiberfill. This makes the chair very soft and comfy. Bad experiences with replica Barcelona chairs is often the result of them not being as comfortable as the Knoll. This is because the manufacturer used a cheaper quality, stiff foam. Though it may look stiff, this chair is meant to be sat on comfortably. It is beautiful but it’s not intended to be decorative or “just for looks”. However, the cheaper replicas are just that.
  • Frame – The welding of the metal frame is another factor. The curvy X frame is one of the chair’s most appealing aspects. This is also where cheap knockoffs cut the most corners. One way to tell is to look at the X joint. The design of the original joint is very light and the two bars join together seamlessly. Lesser quality replicas often look chunky at the joint. The frame of the Knoll original is made of solid 12mm stainless steel. The frames of cheaper chairs might be hollow or be made from a lesser-quality stainless steel or chrome. The mirror finish is buffed by hand. Good replicas, though not always buffed by hand, should have a mirror finish. Be sure that the frame is made from stainless steel. This metal is easier to maintain and looks more natural. Some cheaper versions use chrome. The joints should be seamless with no visible welding or screws. The chair should not move, as it is not a rocking chair or a recliner.

 

The Best Barcelona Chair Replica

ArtisDecor Premium Lounge Chair and Ottoman made with Top Grain Aniline Leather

This barcelona chair replica is the best of the best. The closest product on the market, with the highest quality, real leather, and exact dimensions.

Artis Décor premium lounge chair

This Barcelona Chair replica has some of the same hand-crafted features as the original but for a fraction of the price. Features in common with the Knoll chair include leather seats fashioned from 40 individual panels, hand stitching and tufting and leather straps dyed to match the seat leather. It’s made with top-grain aniline leather which is high quality but not the absolute best available on the market. The panels are sewn together using a lockstitch stitching in

This Barcelona Chair replica has some of the same hand-crafted features as the original but for a fraction of the price. Features in common with the Knoll chair include leather seats fashioned from 40 individual panels, hand stitching and tufting and leather straps dyed to match the seat leather. It’s made with top-grain aniline leather which is high quality but not the absolute best available on the market. The panels are sewn together using a lockstitch stitching in braided thread, which contributes to lasting durability. The seats are stuffed with very comfortable visco elastic (memory) foam. The straps are riveted to frame. The frame itself is made from 12mm solid core stainless steel, so it’s as sturdy as the original. The frame is also hand buffed. The chair comes in four colors; black, brown, red and white. This chair is very similar to the original in many ways, however, it sits more upright and some of the materials are different. The X joint is very similar to original.

The Artis Decor Barcelona Chair Replica

The Artis Decor Barcelona Chair Replica

Reviews for this chair are overwhelmingly positive. The leather quality of the seats is particularly impressive. The leather is smooth and buttery feeling. The cushions have a thick and sumptuous, like luxury car seating. The straps match the seat color perfectly and are sturdily riveted to the frame. Artis Décor is known for its excellent customer service, which is friendly and responsive. This is good to know, seeing as the company doesn’t have a store front. Barcelona chair replicas arrive quickly with FedEx (not Amazon delivery). Chairs come in one piece, so there’s no assembly needed. The chairs also come expertly packed so no damage is sustained during delivery.

The Artis Decor Barcelona Chair Replica

The chair does have a few cons. The manufacturer did take some cost cutting measures. One of these is that the back and sides of the chair are made with faux leather vinyl. The feet of the chair come wrapped in plastic tips. These are intended to avoid it scratching the floor though they look a bit cheap. If you don’t like them, however, then at least they are removable.

 

A Close Second

MLF Pavilion Chair & Ottoman

This barcelona chair replica offers good mix of value and quality.. Offering 100% leather and no vinyl, it’s a great alternative.

 

MLF pavilion chair rear view

The MLF Pavilion Chair has several factors in common with the Knoll original and the Artis Décor chair. One of these is the use of 40 individual leather panels. These, as well as the high quality piping and buttons, are made from top-grain Italian leather. The cowhide straps are riveted to frame and the seat and back buckle onto the frame with leather straps and snaps. The X frame comes in one piece and requires no assembly. This frame is made of polished stainless steel. The X joint is also quite similar to the original. It’s smooth and seamless.

Pictured: MLF pavilion chair front view

A big advantage that the MLF chair has over the Artis chair is that it’s made of 100% leather, even on the back and bottom of the seat. There’s no vinyl or other lesser quality fabric used in the manufacture. There are a few disadvantages. One of these is that the quality of stainless steel is questionable. The product description just says “superior grade stainless steel”. The seller claims that the width is between 10 and 12 mm. The color matching capabilities of the manufacturers aren’t as good as Artis. This can be seen in the slightly different shades of the light brown seat and ottoman colors. The seller stated that the reason was because they use two different kinds of leather. The straps are not as thick as the original.

Reviews for this chair are very positive. The seller is very responsive to customers and answers questions accurately. Buyers were happy with the leather quality of the chair and though it was very comfortable. There were very few negative reviews. The complaints tended to be about packaging and damage to the product rather than the chair itself.

This chair is for you if you’re a stickler for leather.  This is an excellent quality chair for the price.

Barcelona on a Budget

Coaster Home Furnishings Accent Chair

This Barcelona chair replica is a great budget choice. However, if you can opt for the higher quality, we highly recommend it.

Coaster accent chair front view

When discussing the Coaster Home Furnishings Accent Chair, one must keep in mind that this is a budget Barcelona chair replica. It has very little in common with the Knoll original or the much higher quality Artis or MLF replicas. This is a reproduction Barcelona chair. The biggest difference is that the seat of this chair is not made from leather. The product description does not specify which fabric was used but it’s some kind of faux leather, probably vinyl or pleather. The straps are elastic and there are 5 of them on the back. However, some chairs come with no straps on the back, as can be seen in this photo. There are no buttons or piping on this chair and the stitches are visible. The X frame is more squat and sits lower to the ground than the other chairs on this list. It’s about three inches shorter than the Knoll. The joint has a chunky bowtie shape in the middle, which doesn’t look as nice as the other replicas. The feet come with plastic tips on them. The product description does not state if these are removable. Another important thing to consider is that this chair does not come with an ottoman. The chair comes in two colors, black and white.

oaster accent chair front view

There are some redeeming aspects of this chair, however, as reviews were very positive. The chair has a good, sturdy frame. It’s also impressively sized and quite spacious. Though it does sit lower, it is a lot bigger than the original. (30 X 35.8X 32 as opposed to Knoll’s 30 X 29.5 X 30.25) That said, the happy customers probably took the price into account and mitigated their expectations. That’s because this chair’s number one flaw is its use of cheap materials. The material doesn’t look or feel like leather. It feels like plastic. If the chair does have straps, they don’t hold the cushions in place very well.

Overall the chair was a good deal for the purchase price but don’t expect much from it. Though it is comfortable enough to sit on, you may want to but this one if you’re decorating a hallway or waiting room on a budget. Otherwise go with one of the other two barcelona chair replicas.