October 14, 2004

Rietveld Early Modern High Chairs

Even from the earliest days of the De Stijl movement [that's gotta be annoying to Dutch readers; I might as well say "the De Stijl style."] , architect Gerrit Rietveld was designing childrens' versions of his modernist, geometric chairs. Mostly, they were for wealthy friends and clients--or for his own kids--but some, like the 1918 chair on the right, made it into production for sale at high-end department stores.

The 1940 one on the left, modeled after his later ZigZag Chair, is the commercial version; the original was a custom piece that turned out to be so narrow, the client's kid could barely sit in it.

And thus we see the grand tradition of cool-obsessed parents trading their childrens' well-being for to satisfy their own sense of style. Kinda makes me feel all warm inside. Wanna have the governess bring the kid in for a hug sometime. Just as long as she keeps her grubby little mitts off the modernist masterpieces.

Both images were scanned from Kid Size: The Material World of Childhood, the catalogue for a Vitra-sponsored show that traveled to the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford (which is just outside of Bristol).

Previously: Jean ProuvÈ Cradle

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