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Zig Zag Chair

c. 1932/1934

by Gerrit Rietveld
for Cassina

Zig Zag Chair

by Gerrit Rietveld
for Cassina

or Call to Order

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.

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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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