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Utrecht Chair

c. 1935

by Gerrit Rietveld
for Cassina

Utrecht Chair

by Gerrit Rietveld
for  Cassina

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Utrecht was Rietveld’s first uphol­stered lounge chair and, like all of his furni­ture designs, remains a remark­able study in planes and volumes. Cassina acquired the rights to produce Rietveld’s furni­ture in 1971 and reis­sued the Utrecht chair in 1988 on the occa­sion of the cente­nary of Rietveld’s birth.

The chair features a deep recti­lin­ear seat and back that is clev­erly canted so that the result­ing angle appears to rest on the floor. The gravity-defying upward cant of the front seat is supported by uphol­stered front legs that form a right angle and continue toward the chair’s back, now func­tion­ing as armrests. 

Utrecht is composed of an inte­rior steel support frame covered in polyurethane foam with poly­ester padding covered in fabric or leather finished with a signa­ture blanket or zig-zag stitch.

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Gerrit Rietveld

Netherlands (1888–1964)

Born in Utrecht, Netherlands in 1888, Gerrit Rietveld is known best for his architectural and product designs. In 1917, Rietveld opened his own furniture shop, with an aim for simplicity in construction, knowing that factory production was key to future designs. Not a year later, he opened his own factory and began shifting his color palette due to his discovery of the De Stijl Movement. After joining the De Stijl, he spent time exhibiting at the Bauhaus under an invitation from Walter Gropius, and created notable architectural projects. His most significant building is the Rietveld Schroder House, completed in 1924; it featured moving panelled walls and is now an UNESCO World Heritage Site. By 1928, Rietveld shifted his design philosophy once again, breaking with De Stijl, as he opted for a more functionalist style of architecture. Noted furniture pieces by Rietveld include the Red and Blue Chair in 1917, along with the Zig Zag Chair designed in 1934.

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