Design: Red and Blue Chair
Designer: Gerrit Rietveld (Dutch, 1888-1964)
Date: 1918 (colors added in 1923)
Country of Origin: The Netherlands
Associated Movement: (pronounced “de style”)
Materials & Construction: lacquered beech wood
Background: Gerrit Rietveld’s Red and Blue chair is one of the most well-known icons of the De Stijl movement, a design ideology that sprang to life in post-WWI Holland. Also known as “Neoplasticism,” the movement championed extreme abstraction through the use of severe horizontals and verticals and primary colors. With proponents of the style ranging from the movement’s founder, Theo Van Doesburg to the painter Piet Mondrian, it has been posited that De Stijl’s distilled aesthetic was a response to the chaos and turmoil of the first World War—an effort to create harmony and order in people’s lives. While Rietveld was, like many, a Modernist designer interested in creating designs that were ergonomic and able to be easily reproduced, he also longed for his work to transcend material function, to allow for spiritual enrichment, as well. Originally located in the Rietveld-designed Schröder House, the chair was able to live harmoniously with its surroundings and do just that.
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