Gerrit Rietveld came up with the design for the Utrecht armchair in 1935 while working for the Metz & Co. department store in Amsterdam, where his brief was to make a chair for serial production. Taking market needs into account, while privileging a comfortable and relaxing experience, led to the elements of the chair being treated as separate units. As a consequence, the chair became an icon of both the Neoplastic movement (aka De Stijl), and of Rietveld’s experimental vision. In 2015, the original version of the chair, without the feet, was made available alongside the one with, as part of the Mutazioni collection, and was relaunched with its dimensions adjusted to take account of changes in people’s height over the previous 80 years. The chair is also available in the Gerrit fabric, with blanket stitch, or zig-zag top-stitching, in both cases in five colors.
Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, born in Utrecht on 24 June 1888, seems possessed of two personalities, each so distinct that one might take his work to be that of more than one artist. The first personality is that seen in the craftsman cabinet-maker working in a primordial idiom, re-inventing chairs and other furniture as if no one had ever built them before him and following a structural code all of his own; the second is that of the architect working with elegant formulas, determined to drive home the rationalist and neoplastic message in the context of European architecture. The two activities alternate, overlap, and fuse in a perfect osmosis unfolding then into a logical sequence. In 1918 Rietveld joined the “De Stijl” movement which had sprung up around the review of that name founded the year before by Theo van Doesburg. The group assimilated and translated into ideology certain laws on the dynamic breakdown of compositions (carrying them to an extreme) that had already been expressed in painting by the cubists: the “De Stijl” artists also carefully studied the architectonic lesson taught by the great Frank Lloyd Wright, whose influence was widely felt in Europe at that time.
B 66 cm / H 75 cm / D 89 cm / SH 54 cm