This chair has a very special place in my heart for a number of reasons. Mainly because my father made it. He built it using the plans in the book De stoel van Rietveld, or Rietveld’s chair by Marijke Kuper and Lex Reitsma, which is a fascinating book documenting the prototypes and different versions of the chair, including a baby chair, before Rietveld finally settled on the Red-Blue Chair designed in 1918.
In 2006 a Dutch newspaper asked its readers to nominate objects representing ‘Best Dutch Design’. This was one of them. Gijs van Tuyl, director of the Amsterdam Stedelijk Museum at the time and an owner of a Red-Blue chair, described the chair as ‘a chair as a statement, an archetypal prototype, pointing towards the future’, and went on to say that although he owned one, he never sat in it. Just admired it.
It is true, our one sat in pride of place on the upstairs landing of the house I grew up in. In those days, it was placed beneath a poster depicting the very same chair advertising a De Stijl exhibition. We rarely ever sat in it but passed by and admired it as you would a painting. Even though we didn’t sit in it very often, it is quite comfortable. The height, the angles of the back and the seat are just the right proportions to fit the body. Despite the family traffic around, it never had anything dumped or draped across it, which believe me was quite an achievement in our house.
It is also special, as at the time my father made it I was very interested in the de Stijl movement and in particular Piet Mondrian’s Composition in Red, Blue and Yellow. I even designed and hand knitted a Mondrian jumper as a tribute to the artist and his work. Although my father’s chair is still going strong, sadly, I can’t say the same for the jumper. The moths got at it, but I was very proud to wear it at the time.
You may recall an earlier blog post featuring Rietveld’s Z chair which was designed later than this chair in 1943. It was very much a chair to be grouped together around a dining table. This one, being the more famous of the two, and in primary colours very much the look of De Stijl, is really a one-off piece that is a real showstopper.
This post is not sponsored but you can buy your own Red-Blue Chair HERE