Rudolf Wolf (1919-1989) may have remained relatively unknown for many years, his designs for the Dutch steel company Elsrijk are a summum of early industrial furniture. He was educated both technically and at art school, and his interest for both fields would define him throughout his entire life.
Rudolf Wolf’s work for Elsrijk is characterised by the use of solid bars, giving his chairs, tables and stools their industrial appearance and durability. Indeed, though his preference for exceptionally tendril frames would make you suspect otherwise, all his designs are surprisingly weighty and stable.
The steel was bent instead of welded and most furniture pieces are dismountable, specially created for a modern lifestyle ‘on the move’. Besides a harmony in form, often distinctively angular, these traits were important to Rudolf Wolf. Later, his designs became more slick; like his Gamma chair for the Meander series, which was awarded the title Best Furniture Design of the Year 1964 by the American Institute of International Designers.
Despite the success of his career in furniture, Rudolf Wolf ultimately dedicated himself primarily to art, feeling closely connected to Constructivism, and made fine sculptural pieces from the same materials he used for his furniture: steel and aluminium. Clean cut lines and geometry where a reoccurring theme, reminiscent of the sleek and slender shapes of his furniture designs.
Over the years, we have compiled the largest collection of vintage Elsrijk furniture available, and had the honour to research Rudolf Wolf’s inspiring heritage and personal archive.
Images + text: © KADER design