Zig Zag Chair
The Zig Zag chair designed by Gerrit Rietveld is perhaps one of the most radical, high-concept chair designs of the 20th century. Obviously inspired by the cantilever chair form that made its first appearance in Holland in the mid-1920s, Rietveld essentially translated the tubular steel used by his contemporaries in their respective designs into his familiar medium – wood planes.
At first glance, the chair looks like it should simply collapse once any weight was added to the seating plane. Its visually continuous appearance is the result of sophisticated construction that involves dovetail joints, concealed dowel pins, and mitered support wedges where the elements meet at 45-degree angles. The chair features a discrete depression on its backside creating a grip for easy lifting and moving the chair.
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.