Friso Kramer


His Revolt chair (1953) is regarded a true classic of ‘Dutch Design,’ his influence unparalleled: Friso Kramer (1922), son of architect Piet Kramer, is  legend in modern, industrial design. “A lean, fair haired man with sensible, slender hands” a Dutch newspaper would describe him in 1959. The motto ‘form follows function’ is clearly manifest in his furniture. His tables and chairs stand out in their simplicity, stability and practical conception.

For many years Friso Kramer worked for De Cirkel, a manufacturer in office furniture, which undoubtedly played a part in determining his distinct robust style with its pertinent matter-of-factness. His designs are so widespread that it would be hard to find someone growing up in the Netherlands that hasn’t sat at one of his desks or in one of his chairs, or whose street was illuminated by his beautiful lanterns (1960). Starting from 1971 up until his retirement Friso Kramer was head of the design department at Ahrend, a profound trade company for office supplies of which De Cirkel was now also part.

In 1963, together with designers Wim Crouwel, Benno Wissing, Paul and Dick Schwarz, Friso Kramer founded the famous Total Design studio which aimed at creating a synthesis between various fields of design — graphic to industrial alike. His work was exhibited in major exhibitions at both the Stedelijk Museum of Amsterdam as the Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam.

Reference and images: Friso Kramer, industrieel ontwerper, ed. R. Bullhorst en R. Eggink, Rotterdam: Uitgeverij 010, 1991
+ ‘Friso Kramer, jonge stuwkracht’ in Zeeuwsch Dagblad, March 20, 1959
+ Stoelen, Delftse Universitaire Pers, 1980
Text + image: © KADER design