Investigation and Production of Furniture for Villa Tugendhat 2009–2012


  • Miroslav Ambroz




Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


Villa Tugendhat is an expression of “gesamtkunstwerk”, where every detail is subordinated to the whole. Mies van der Rohe devoted the same amount of attention to the furnishings of the house as to its design. The furniture designed and placed according to his conception is such an important aspect of the house that without it the Villa is only half complete. The system governing the organization of all parts of the building – ratios, proportions, whole areas and details – is visible also in the precise placement of the house contents, which only allowed the owner limited variability in the use of space. The Villa became world famous not long after its completion, but Fritz and Grete Tugendhat were not destined to spend many happy years there. Even before the Munich Pact had been signed, signifying the de facto end of democratic Czechoslovakia, they left Brno forever. At the end of the summer of 1938 two removal vans came to take part of the furnishings to St. Gallen in Switzerland. Today the main body of the original equipment is, except for several pieces, still in the possession of the family. The Villa was, after two years of general reconstruction, reopened to the public in February this year. For the first time since 1938 it was equipped with all the furnishings Mies van der Rohe had designed for it. The most significant event was the return after seventy years of the original curved wall of the dining area to its original location. This famous Makassar wall had been considered lost for many decades.

How to Cite

Ambroz, M. (2012). Investigation and Production of Furniture for Villa Tugendhat 2009–2012. Docomomo Journal, (46), 26–31.




Author Biography

Miroslav Ambroz

Independent researcher and art historian, expert and appraiser of art; 1994 Municipality of the City of Brno, Department of Historical Monuments; 2001 fine arts conservation consulting expert for several architectural companies and government institutions, including the Department of Historical Monuments Protection; 1995 Department of Historical Monuments Protection, Brno art historian expert for reconstructions of historical buildings and monuments; 2001–2005 Moravian Gallery, Brno, fine and applied arts expert, exhibition curator, appraising and authenticating documentation, head curator of the exhibition project ‘Vienna Secession’.


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Drexler Arthur, Illustrated catalogue of the Mies van der Rohe drawings in the Museum of Modern Art, Mies van der Rohe Archive; with introductory notes by Arthur Drexler and Franz Schulze, New York - London, Garland Publisher, 1986-1992

Glaeser Ludwig, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, furniture and furniture drawings from the Design Collection and the Mies van der Rohe Archive, The Museum of Modern Art, New York 1977

Günther Sonja, Lilly Reich 1885-1947, Innenarchitektin, Designerin, Ausstellunsgestalterin, Stuttgart 1988

Hammer-Tugendhat Daniela, Tegethoff Wolf (ed.), Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the Tugendhat House, Wien Springer, 2000

Lange Christiane, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich, furniture and interiors, Hatje Cantz, 2006

McQuaid Mathilda, Lilly Reich, designer and architect, Museum of Modern Art, 1996

Reuter Helmut and Schulte Birgit, Mies and Modern Living. interiors, furniture, photography, Hatje Cantz, 2008

Smithson Peter, Bruchhäuser Axel, Flying Furniture, Walther Konig, Köln, 2000

von Vegesack Alexander, Mies van der Rohe, architecture and design in Stuttgart, Barcelona, Brno, Skira-Vitra Design Museum, 1998