It is without a doubt that Wim Rietveld (1924-1985) was, to some extent, influenced by the legend of his father, Gerrit Rietveld. They worked together occasionally with mutual respect for each other’s style and ideas. However, suiting the standardisation of mechanical production in his time, one could say Wim Rietveld explores a more industrially refined approach.
His chairs and tables reflect an exceptional harmony in sense of material and intelligent use of new, industrialised manufacturing, with subtle traces of an outspoken signature. Always aiming to find essence in form and in function, even his manner of speaking was, supposedly, to the point and with a hint of irony.
Wim Rietveld’s most known designs where made during his employment at Gispen, from 1953-1957. He preferred to use slender, solid staff steel instead of tubing, which — though practically indestructible — was easier to bend and could partially eliminate welding. There is a timelessness about them, a beauty so plain and honest that it is, at times, disarming, and would influence many other designers up until our present day.
Reference material: Hinte, Ed van. Wim Rietveld, industrieel ontwerper. Rotterdam: Uitgeverij 010, 1996.
Images: © www.stichtinggispencollectie.nl
Text: © KADER design