The History of Wim Rietveld
Wim Rietveld was the youngest son of the world famous architect and design innovator Gerrit Rietveld. Though Wim Rietveld initially went to school to study to become a tool maker, in 1950 he started to attend evening classes in industrial design at the Hague Academy. Rietveld then got a job as a designer at Gispen after W.H. Gispen left the company, and introduced the concept of 'Furniture for a Simple Interior' as part of the Good Living style. Mainly designing office furniture and lighting, the 1407 chair he created with Andre Cordemeijer received the top prize at the 10th Milan Triennale in 1954. His ethos, in regards to his designs, was 'well shaped, solid, practical and cheap’. This impressed the Technical University in Delft, so in 1973 they offered him the position as an 'extraordinary academic' with the department for Industrial Design.
How to Spot a Wim Rietveld
Wim Rietveld’s furniture is simple, functional and elegant - be it the classic school-style Gispen 116 chairs, which is practical, sturdy and aesthetically appealing, or the artistic Industrial Reply stool and desk set, which plays on the notion of empty space and traditional design. Mostly working in neutral tones of metal and wood, Wim Rietveld occasionally introduced flashes of blues and reds - whether it's the blue and black 1407 chair or a simple red Armchair. While the Panama lamp no. 4050 is metallic and simple, his Table lamp features a yellow body and red shade - with the early Gispen storage system also showcasing a range of different shades.
Wim Rietveld’s Notable Designs
One of Wim Rietveld most recognizable pieces is the Pyramid chair, which is a highly sought after example of modernist industrial design.. Beyond office and domestic furniture and lighting, Wim Rietveld was also a renowned designer of machinery, boards, trains and household appliances. He actually considered himself an industrial designer, rather than a designer. He also designed agricultural machinery for Vicon and stoves, hot plates and a coffee maker for Inventum.