Our Mies van der Rohe Quality Pledge, and more Modern Furniture at Discount Price
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Gibraltar Furniture is a premiere source for modern furniture including mid-century classics, retro, art deco, and futuristic designer interior products at Discount Prices.  We specialize in architectural home and office products, and outdoor high end landscape items at factory direct rates. We offer both original and ultra high quality reproduction classics from Europe, American & Asia. We feature designs by world renowned designers such as Charles Eames, Arne Jacobsen, Frank Lloyd Wright, George Nelson, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, Le Courbusier, Isamu Noguchi, and more!

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Our Mies van der Rohe Quality Pledge




Our Mies van der Rohe Quality Pledge - Click to enlargeMIES VAN DER ROHE OVERVIEW Our Mies van der Rohe chair series is the highest quality reproduction that you will find anywhere in the marketplace. The internet is rife with the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to authentic designer reproductions. This creates a great deal of confusion in the marketplace when consumers experience huge differences in price points for the same items.

Many of the lower cost products from China may appear to be terrific buys at first glance. However, on closer examination the adept consumer will slowly see that a great price does not always equal a superior product.

For instance we have seen many instances where water buffalo, pig leather, or PVC (poly vinyl chloride) is offered in place of the high end 100% Italian leather that we utilize for our entire series.

Many of these low end knock offs do not use the same lines, construction techniques, or materials as the originals. The frames that these sub-par companies use tend to fail over time due to their low grade materials. Most of these units dont come with any warranties unlike our products which are fully guaranteed for 1 year.

We supply our Mies Pavilion-Mies van der Rohe items from Europe and also from our own overseas factory. Unlike our competitors, we use the Capitonn technique which uses individual tabbed squares of leather cut from a single hide and sewn, welted and tufted by hand. Each line is a "pipe" not just stitching. This results in the ultimate luxury product.

We use a total of 17 heavy saddle Italian leather straps ensuring durability and support. All straps are made to match the specified upholstery color. Knoll uses 34 stainless screws to secure straps to steel frame. We follow the same method using 34 stainless rivets to prevent the leather straps from loosening over time.

Our Mies Pavilion chair features premium grade 304 bar stock stainless steel for the frame. Single piece construction ensures long-term durability. Eeach frame is shaped, welded and hand-polished to an impressive mirror finish. Our frames are highly buffed to enhance the luster and appearance. We include the stainless steel frame on all models and we do not up charge for this feature. (Knoll also offers this option but you will have to pay several hundred dollars more for such.)

Knoll uses thinner padding on their Mies van der Rohe edition. It has a slight curve to it. The back of the seat cushion is lower giving you a slightly more reclined position. Our chair uses 4" thick cushions and has a more ergonomic seat angle for better lumbar support and easier position to get up from.

Finally, our cushions are premium quality, highly resilient urethane foam with Dacron polyester fiberfill to 100% match the official Knoll release.

We sell these units form two main sources:

1. Italian leather, Italian stainless Steel, European construction from Gordon International.

We use 100% Italian Leather and 100% stainless steel frames. As Italian labor is more costly than non -European overseas sources the cost corresponding goes up. Please visit www.gordoninternational.com for pricing info.

It takes 15-20 hours to pay these chairs. Labor in Europe is about $30 per hour. This makes the total cost higher. However, we mark down all of these models and the price that you will pay will be 30% off of the list price. We deep discount all of these models as we are a factory direct internet wholesaler.

2. Italian leather, Italian stainless Steel, Non-European construction

We source these models from our own overseas factory. We use 100% Italian leather and 100% stainless steel frames. As overseas labor is less expensive than European workmen the total price goes down accordingly.

It takes 15-20 hours to pay these chairs. Non-European labor is about $3 per hour. This makes the total cost lower. We deep discount all of these models as we are a factory direct internet wholesaler.

The quality is the same, the materials, are the same, and the end product is the same. Therefore the choice is yours.

Gibraltar uses our own special off shore factories to create the ultimate in value, design, and quality for this award winning series. We have constructed our own superior facilities that employ strict quality control features to fashion gold standard collectible furniture pieces at cost effective prices.

We can craft each unit in your choice of any of our stock colors. In addition we can also custom fabricate any piece in COM (customers own material)or COL (customers own leather). No other store on the internet can offer any of these services!

Our competitors cut their prices by using low grade bar stock, inferior hides, and unskilled labor. The result is a second-rate product that will quickly fall apart. Many of these lesser products are formed in Asia. We pledge to never source our Mies van der Rohe classic series pieces from cheaper sources and pass them off as design classics. Instead we guarantee that we only sell products from our own plant. The results are world class products that look exactly like the Knoll originals.

No one else can offer all of these extras, or the ability to customize Le Corbusier classics at prices that cant be beat.

FEATURES

* Ultra High-quality imported density foam

* Superior grade stainless steel frame

* Hand-selected Italian leather, expertly sewn and piped.

* Seat and back cushions adapt to fit curve of frame.

* Individual leather panels are cut, hand-welted and hand-tufted

* Panels and buttons are crafted from a single hide

MIES VAN DER ROHE MATERIALS

The Mies van der Rohe series is a unique and striking piece of furniture comprised of metal legs and a frame.

Metal Legs: We use only highly polished stainless steel legs. The bar metal is shaped and welded, ground and polished.

Tufted leather upholstery: A patchwork checkerboard of piped leather and leather covered buttons, stretched gently across firm foam cushions.

Leather Straps: Behind and beneath the back rest and seat cushions - matching leather straps are riveted (or sometimes screwed) to the frame . Fastening Systems: All cushions are fasted to the frame and straps with buckles, (beneath the seat) and poppers at the back. Some modern variations include buckles in both places, fabric ties or even Velcro.

METAL LEGS

The frame of The Mies van der Rohe chair is metal. The question is what metal. To the laymen this might seem to be a simple question; however it turns out to be a surprisingly complex one.

Each type of metal, like steel and stainless steel, chromed steel and aluminum - can be made in a large number of different ways. Blending the component elements of iron, carbon, nickel, chrome etc in different quantities, using different techniques creates very different results.

The alloys produced by these different blends have specific characteristics suited to particular purposes. Some are more brittle, some more pliable; some are easier to weld; others are less prone to corrosion and a host of other forms of deterioration. Some have a higher shine than others, others scratch more or less easily... and so the list continues in ever increasing layers of subtlety and technicality. Price and availability are also pertinent.

For each range of desired characteristics there might be one or a dozen applicable alloys. Marine stainless steel for example, has quite uncompromising requirements. It needs to be tremendously resistant to the corrosion caused by salt water; it also needs to be wieldable, not brittle, but not too pliable. Lives depend upon its structural integrity and so standards must necessarily be high. Raw materials are expensive, and AISI grade 316 stainless steel is only produced by three or four countries, creating a certain scarcity that is in part responsible for the high price.

FRAMES

For Mies van der Rohe Chair frames - there is considerably more latitude with regard to these criteria. Certainly the steel must be wieldable and not too brittle - but the stressors and weights that can be expected to affect a chair are considerably less extreme than those on the hull of a steel ship. The frame of a chair should not corrode - but it can reasonably be anticipated that it will never have to survive submersion in salt water for extended periods of time. The question of price sensitivity is more personal. Most people purchasing an item like the Mies van der Rohe chair do not have access to information about the steel grade of one chair versus another - (even assuming that they knew that this is a variable to consider.) This variable is however one of the principal influences on the price of The Mies van der Rohe Chair.

Our Mies Pavilion chair features premium grade 304 bar stock stainless steel for the frame.

HISTORY

Many prospective purchasers of the Mies van der Rohe Chair ask if the chair they are buying is "authentic" or original. Clearly they are trying to ensure that they end up with the best option available, however this is not the best question to ask to achieve that end. The original chair made by Mies and Lily for the exhibition, was a relatively low grade steel, with a chromed finish.

Although stainless steel was invented at the end of the 1800s, and patented in 1913, it was not in wide spread production for some time there after - and no doubt was not an easily accessible option in 1929.

STAINLESS STEEL TECHNICAL INFO

Stainless steel is defined as an iron-carbon alloy with a minimum of 10.5% chromium.

Stainless steel gets its name from the fact that it has higher resistance to oxidation, rust and corrosion. Different grades of stainless steel are resistant to oxidation associated with different types of environment. Eg. Air versus water, sweet water versus salt water etc. Resistance to oxidation associated with air borne moisture is normally achieved with additions of a minimum of 13% (by weight) chromium - given average ambient temperatures and salinity, but may require up to 26% for more extreme environments.

This works in the following way: The chromium forms a surface layer of chromium(III) oxide (Cr_2 O_3 ) when exposed to oxygen, however the layer is too thin to be visible, so the metal retains it smooth and shiny appearance. It is, however, impervious to water and air, and so serves to protect the metal beneath. Also, this layer quickly reforms when the surface is scratched.

This phenomenon is called passivation and is also seen in other metals, such as aluminum and titanium.

Nickel also contributes to passivation, as do other less commonly used ingredients such as molybdenum and vanadium.

STAINLESS STEEL TYPES

The addition of nickel or manganese makes stainless steel non-magnetic and less brittle at low temperatures. This is called an Austenitic steel and is graded as a 300 series steel. Over 70% of total stainless steel production world wide is 300 series stainless steel. They contain a maximum of 0.15% carbon, a minimum of 16% chromium and sufficient nickel and/or manganese to retain an austenitic structure at all temperatures from the cryogenic region to the melting point of the alloy.

There are over 150 grades of stainless steel, of which fifteen are most common.

Type 304 is the universal grade; the classic 18/8 stainless steel. Also referred to as "A2" in accordance with ISO - International Organization for Standardization.

METAL FINISHES

With regard to the Mies van der Rohe Chair, only two standard stainless steel finishes are common - in the creation of that distinctive highly polished aesthetic appearance. No. 7 - reflective finish No. 8 - mirror finish

We polish our Mies van der Rohe chairs to a brilliant mirror finish as standard feature. Knoll will charge you extra for this upgrade.

LEATHER OPTIONS

The Mies van der Rohe chair cushions are made of leather. The original was made from pig skin, but we use only 100% imported high quality Italian leather for all of releases. Contemporary manufacturers have explored the length and breath of possibility in this regard, producing Mies van der Rohe style chairs of every conceivable type of leather - some with notably striking results.

Leather is a versatile and surprisingly diverse material. Leathers can vary tremendously: Consider that a raw hide can be thin or thick, supple or brittle; it can be scared or clean grained. Grain might be regular or irregular, deep or barely visible. And all of this variation exists even before the hide has been treated, scraped, dyed, printed, coated, cut and sewn.

The characteristics of the leather upholstery on your Mies van der Rohe Chair will to large degree define the apparent quality of the whole item.

In selecting leather an expert would look several characteristics. A soft and supple 'hand': A technical term which really just means - how good it feels on your hand; and a texture that they like. However texture is really quite a subjective and therefore personal choice.

TOP GRAIN/CORRECTED PIGMENTED LEATHER

Top grain leather refers to the epidermis of a hide. That top layer that is both the strongest, most durable and the most characteristic. To be used as top grain leather, hides must have a pleasing regularity of appearance, without too many scars. All high quality manufacturers of leather upholstery will use top grain leather.

Corrected leather or Embossed leather has been stamped to apply an even texture, simulating the grain of leather, but without the naturally uneven markings of uncorrected leathers (removes wrinkles, bites and scars). This allows leathers with too many markings to be corrected, making them more appealing , and also addresses a growing market for uniformity and consistency. Corrected leathers are often but not always lower in price than uncorrected leathers.

Pigmented leathers are aniline dyed hides that includes a pigmented topcoat. The topcoat increases the leather's durability and color consistency, but also increases the stiffness very slightly. People who like their leather furniture uniform and perfect as well as people who want more protection will enjoy this type of leather.

Some prefer more durable leather, one with a pigment and clear protecting coating. These can be almost invisible to the eye, but do feel slightly different to the hand.

Those in search of a less expensive variation might choose corrected leather. Corrected leathers are slightly lower quality in terms of regularity of grain and markings, and as such are slightly 'exfoliated' to remove the very top layer of the epidermis. They are then mechanically embossed with the grain pattern, before being treated with pigment and protective coating. These are sometimes still referred to as top grain leathers, although this term is somewhat inaccurate as some of the 'top grain' has in fact been removed.

We use only 100% imported Italian leather for our Migliore "Deluxe" program. Colors include Bright White, Camel, Chocolate, Ivory, Black, Red and Saddle Tan.

TOP GRAIN/FULL GRAIN FULL SEMI-ANILINE LEATHER

Semi-Aniline leathers are also colored by aniline dyes. As such they are also noted for their natural grain and softness. However semi-aniline leathers are treated with a clear sealant topcoat which has a slight sheen.

This protective layer is thin enough that it does not obscure the grain, but serves to afford additional protection and color consistency. Semi-anilines are sometimes considered to be the best choice as they offer some degree of protection while still retaining the softness and natural character and beauty of the leather.

We use only 100% imported Italian leather for our Premio "Primo" program. Colors include Bordeaux, Cognac, Cappuccino, Golden Tan, Hunter Green, Black, Navy Blue, Parchment, Tangerine, and Wasabi.

TOP GRAIN/FULL GRAIN FULL ANILINE LEATHER

Aniline leathers are those top grain leathers colored solely by aniline dyes. Aniline dyes are used quite commonly, on all types of leather. These chromium based dies are heated to ensure better penetration into the leather, and to help the dye bond to the cellular structure of the hide.

These transparent dyes preserve the subtle depth of translucence in the leather. Used without surface treatments of pigment and protective coating, aniline dyed leathers are the most natural and 'naked' and are therefore favored by leather lovers and purists the world over. No two aniline leathers are identical; each hide has its own characteristics.

Aniline leathers are highly prized both for their luxurious softness and rich color. Because Aniline dyes do not coat the surface of the leather, they do leave it somewhat less protected than other dyes and treatments.

Knoll uses untreated, top grain leather for its Mies van der Rohe Chairs. These hides are very high quality, having few natural imperfections, and as such can be used untreated, (without layers of pigment or clear coat protection). The difficulty with untreated leathers is that they fade easily, (more so than those with pigmented protective layers) and being quite porous they stain very easily.

We use only 100% imported Italian leather for our Superiore "Exquiste" program. Colors include Chocolate, Cranberry, Black, Tofee, White and Whiskey.

FOAM

Foam is a substance - liquid or solid, that is formed in such a way as to trap many gas bubbles within it. The Foam used in furniture upholstery is generally Polyurethane (foam rubber), but latex rubber is also used sometimes.

Polyurethane foam has two basic characteristics that describe its suitability for various uses: Density: Density is the weight of a regular unity of the substance. For example, one type of foam rubber might weight 5 lbs per cubic foot. Commercial foam manufacturers generally measure foam density in kg per cubic meter. Ranging from approximately 15 - 50 kg per cubic meter. Where 50kg is the denser foam and therefore is generally less susceptible to compression.

Resistance and Load Deflection: Measures the change in the cubic dimensions of the foam when compressed by a particular weight of specific size and shape. Or looked at another way: A piece of foam that does not change shape and size significantly under the weight of an 8 inch round metal plate is said to have high ILD, (indentation load deflection). A soft piece of foam would have a low ILD. Specifically - to compress a piece of foam by 25% (for example making a 4 inch piece of foam 3 inch) by putting a 40lb weight on it, implies that the foam sample in question is very firm - and has an ILD of 40.

Although a somewhat subjective matter - ILDs of between 10 - 24 are considered soft, 25 - 32 are medium and 33 - 40 are firm. 41+ are considered to be extra firm. Foam does soften slightly over time with use. (Better quality foam will soften comparably less over time).

COMFORT

Different people consider different firmnesses of foam to be more or less comfortable.

The tastes of countries and cultures vary too. The Americans prefer considerably softer foam than the Germans for example. The average comfort range for a sofa in the United States is 25 - 35, where as the average comfort range in Germany is approximately 30 - 40 ILD. Another consideration is that comfort is dependent upon the specific usage. An ILD that is comfortable in a sofa might be too soft for a lounge chair or a mattress.

SAFETY

Safety concerns about the flammability of foam rubber, has prompted the creation of many governmental standards for fire resistance in furniture manufacture internationally. The most demanding being that of the British BS-5852 certification and Californian CA-117.

FIRE RESISTANCE

To make Polyurethane foam fire resistant a variety of fire retardant chemicals are added to the compound. It is worth noting that latex rubber is naturally fire retardant and does not require the addition of chemical additives to meet and exceed the legal requirements for British BS-5852 and Californian CA-117 certification.

ZIPPERS

Today the cushions of the Mies van der Rohe Chair commonly have color matched, heavy duty, plastic zippers running the length of the bottom edge of the back rest, and, under the seat cushion, along the back edge of the downward facing surface. (running along side the air vent commonly found here).

The zippers allow manufacturers to insert the foam cushion into the leather upholstery.

SEAMS

The seams of the Mies van der Rohe chair are quite complex. The characteristic patchwork of the cushions is comprised on individual sections, (called biscuits). These are sewn together with the leather tube that constitutes the piping, sandwiched in between them. The corner junctions between these sections have 16 layers of leather that have to be neatly sewn together. Leather needles, also known as Glovers needles have a triangular shaped point for piercing the leather without tearing it. Used on leather, suede, vinyl and plastic. Sizes 3/0-10.

PIPING

Piping may be made in a variety of different ways, the earliest of which was by simply folding long strips of fabric or leather over cord or thin rope and then hand or machine stitching as closely as possible to the encased cord, leaving the double thick margin to be tacked and then sewn into the cushion itself through four thicknesses of leather. Plastic tubing is most often used today, because it provides a consistent and regular tube. However the highest quality manufacturers still use rope. Knoll has over the years used hemp, cotton and acrylic rope.

BUTTONS

Two part hollow metal buttons, comprised of a top and a bottom section, both covered in leather are then pressed together so that the bottom half snaps or fits snugly into the top half. A metal loop which is an intrinsic part of the lower level is then attached via stout generally synthetic, high tensile thread, through the cushion by means of a button hook to a matching button on the other side.

STRAPS

The Mies van der Rohe chair straps are made of 7 - 8 oz weight leather hide. This thick leather, also called vegitable tanned hide, is color matched to the upholstery. Its very strong and resistant (although not impervious) to stretching. Purchased in whole hides, manufacturers cut the straps out and then either screw or rivet them to the frame. The straps extend from the front edge of the seat frame, to a rod running along the back edge, and from the top of the back frame to the same rod. Straps are wrapped around the metal in such a way as to ensure that rivets and screws are hidden from view.

CLOSURES

Poppers and buckles are the two primary fastening mechanisms used by manufacturers of licensed and reproduction chairs. The fasteners affix the cushions to the frame, so that it doesn't move about too much. Knoll has had several different fastening devices over the decades as well.

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Gibraltar Furniture has been in business for 50 years. Yahoo News reports that Gibraltar Furniture has "The best prices, models, and service of any site on the Internet." Yahoo News, click here.

This Beverly Hills 90210 store is nirvana for people who want Bauhaus, art deco, modern, mid century, or designer furniture at wholesale prices. Google states "This West coast Internet pioneer features retro, modern, and post-modern furnishings at rock bottom prices. Gibraltar offers an exceptional array of wholesale, architectural, modern, high quality items at factory direct discount prices. Gibraltar Furniture is one of the leaders in the world of Internet modern architectural products. Gibraltar sells furniture manufactured in Italy, Asia, and the USA and all sales are tax free."

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