How to Tell if Cesca Chair is Real

The Cesca chair is one of the most iconic seat designs to come out of the 20th century. Designed in 1928 by famed Bauhaus architect Marcel Breuer, the distinct bent tubular steel and caned seat and backrest of the Cesca chair epitomizes the modernist minimal aesthetic. Nearly a century after its creation, Breuer’s legendary chair remains popular today as a marker of good taste and modernist style. However, with popularity comes a flood of reproductions and knockoffs trying to capitalize on the iconic Cesca name. So how to tell if cesca chair is real whether you have a real Breuer-designed Cesca versus a fake one?

How to Tell if Cesca Chair is Real

Where Are the Cesca Chairs Used?

Cesca chairs are used in various settings, including homes, offices, and commercial spaces, for their floor protector feature. They are often used in dining chairs, kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms. They are also commonly used in office spaces and conference rooms. Due to their sleek and modern design, they can fit well in various decor styles and are suitable for both traditional and contemporary spaces.

4 Tested Methods for How to Tell if Cesca Chair is Real

Here are four tested methods to check the Cesca original chair:

Methods 1: Check for the Brand Markings

If you flip over your Cesca chair, the first thing to look for is a manufacturer’s stamp or label. Genuine Cesca chairs produced by authorized brands after Breuer’s initial 1928 design should have markings indicating:

  • Knoll Cesca chairs – Will have a paper or metal label stamped with the Knoll logo and Marcel Breuer’s signature located under the seat. Knoll acquired the license to produce the Cesca chair in 1937.
  • Gavina Cesca chairs – Feature a Gavina brand stamp under the seat, authorized to manufacture Cesca chairs in the 1950s under license from Knoll.
  • Thonet Cesca chairs – Bear a “Thonet” mark, as Thonet obtained Cesca production rights from Knoll in 1979 which continues today.

While markings could have worn off older chairs, their presence helps authenticate it was manufactured under an official Breuer license. Homemade fakes are unable to produce these authentications.

Shape of the Arms

Methods 2: Examine the Tubular Steel Frame

The Cesca chair’s iconic and revolutionary bent tubular steel frame should meet two construction qualities:

  • Made of one continuous steel tube – Authentic Cesca chairs will be made from one single seamless piece of steel tubing bent into its signature contoured shape. There will be no joins, screws, or welded sections attaching separate tube segments.
  • Have smooth welded ends – Look closely at the ends of the steel tubing which is finished with polished welds, smoothing out the edges for a clean uniform look. Fakes may have rougher industrial screws or bolts rather than clean welds.

Methods 3: Assess the Quality of the Cane

Both the woven seat and curved backrest feature a cane that is tightly wound around the steel frame.

  • High-quality cane will have a natural fine-grain texture and be evenly spaced and tensioned across the chair.
  • Authentic caning will also feel very securely attached to the frame rather than loosely applied.

Low-quality fakes may use plastic or vinyl imitating cane, whereas real cane has visible fiber grain. Also check for uneven gaps or sagging, particularly in the center where most weight bears down.

Stapled to the Seat

Methods 4: Check Construction and Materials

Observe other aspects of construction quality and materials used:

  • High-grade beech or cherry wood – The best real Cesca chairs utilize higher-grade wood for structure and durability under the cane.
  • Superior craftsmanship – As an iconic chair, the Cesca’s fabrication should reflect the best hand craftsmanship and attention to detail.
  • Heavier weight than most chairs – Due to the wood, steel, and cane, the Cesca chair has noticeable heft, unlike flimsy knockoffs.
  • Contoured ergonomic shape – The signature curvy frame and caned seat/back follow the natural shape of the posterior and back, built for comfort.

Low-cost Cesca “inspired” chairs often cut corners on construction and materials. Always scrutinize quality details first before assessing authenticity.

When In Doubt, Ask An Expert

For the most valuable Cesca chairs or those with the most questionable authenticity, consider enlisting a professional 20th-century furniture expert or appraiser to validate them. Those knowledgeable in Breuer and midcentury chair history can spot design and marking inconsistencies. Online museums, galleries, and auction houses can also provide free assessments with good-quality photos.

FAQs About How to Tell if Cesca Chair is Real

Where Are Cesca Chairs Made?

Cesca chairs are made in Italy by the Breuer Chair Company. Marcel Breuer designed the chair in 1928, and its production began after he left the Bauhaus, a German design school. The chair is made of a tubular steel frame and a rattan seat and backing. The Cesca chair was named after Marcel Breuer’s adopted daughter Francesca.

Why is It Called Cesca Chair?

The Cesca chair is named after the daughter of the chair’s designer, Marcel Breuer, who named it as a tribute to his adopted daughter, Francesca. The nickname “Cesca” was used for Francesca, and thus the chair was named accordingly. This information can be found in the Wikipedia article on the Cesca chair.

What Are Cesca Chairs Made of?

What Are the Characteristics of the Cesca Chair?

The Cesca chair, also known as the Marcel Breuer chair, is a modernist icon characterized by its cantilevered tubular steel frame and woven cane or upholstered seat and backrest. Its simple, Bauhaus-inspired design, innovative use of materials, versatility, and stackability have cemented its status as a timeless piece of furniture with a significant influence on modern design.

Are Cesca Chairs Worth It?

The Cesca chair, with its iconic design and enduring popularity, is a coveted piece that has stood the test of time. Its blend of form and function, innovative use of materials, and versatile design make it a worthwhile investment for those seeking a timeless and versatile seating option. The chair’s ability to fit seamlessly into various interior styles and the availability of customization options further add to its value, making it a desirable choice for both aesthetic and practical reasons.

Where Were Original Cesca Chairs Made?

The original Cesca chairs, designed by Marcel Breuer, were first produced by the German company Thonet. Thonet, renowned for its bentwood furniture and innovative designs, manufactured the iconic Cesca chair, showcasing the marriage of modernist design and industrial production techniques. The company played a pivotal role in bringing Breuer’s vision to life and making the Cesca chair a timeless piece of furniture.


Breuer’s Cesca chair has spawned countless imitators, but the realness is in the details. Follow these inspection and authentication tips when shopping vintage to ensure you have an original piece of history rather than just another reproduction trying to capture the Cesca magic.

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