Gerrit Rietveld

architect - designer (1888-1964)

Gerrit Thomas Rietveld, Dutch architect and furniture designer born in Utrecht June 24, 1888. One of the main members of the art movement De Stijl, Rietveld is famous for its Red and Blue Chair and the Rietveld Schröder House, Unesco World Heritage Site.

Son of a carpenter, Rietveld left school at age eleven to serve as apprentice to his father and iscrivesi at night school.

He works as a designer for C.J. Begeer, a jeweler in Utrecht, from 1906 to 1911. In 1917 he opened his own workshop making furniture and cabinet maker. In 1917, Rietveld is self-taught learning drawing, painting and modeling.

Rietveld designed the famous chair Red and Blue Chair in 1917. Hoping that most of the furniture would have been produced in series, rather than by hand, Rietveld is oriented to the simplicity in the construction.

In 1918, he started the activities of his furniture factory, change the colors of the chair after being influenced by the movement 'De Stijl', where he became a member in 1919, the same year when he became the architect.

The contacts made with De Stijl offer him the opportunity to exhibit abroad. In 1923, Walter Gropius invited Rietveld to exhibit at the Bauhaus. He designed his first building, the Rietveld Schröder House, in 1924, working closely with the owner Truus Schröder-Schrader.

Built in Utrecht on 50 Hendriklaan Prins, the house has a conventional plane land, but it is radical to the upper floor, with no fixed walls, but instead relying on sliding walls to create and modify living spaces.

The design looks like a three-dimensional realization of a Mondrian painting. The house has been a UNESCO World Heritage since 2000. His involvement in the Schröder House exerted a strong influence on her daughter Truus', Han Schröder, who became one of the first female architects in the Netherlands.

Rietveld broke with 'De Stijl' in 1928 and came into contact with a more functionalist style of architecture, known as both Zakelijkheid or Nieuwe Nieuwe Bouwen. In the same year he joined the Congrès Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne. Since the end of 1920 was concerned with social housing, low-cost production methods, new materials, prefabrication and standardization.

In 1927 he was already experimenting with pre-cast concrete, a material that is very unusual at that time. In the years 1920 and 1930, however, all his commissions from private individuals, and it was not until 1950 that he was able to put his progressive ideas about social housing in practice, projects in Utrecht and Reeuwijk.

Rietveld designed the Zig-Zag Chair in 1934 and started the design of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which was completed after his death. In 1951 Rietveld designed a retrospective exhibition of De Stijl, which was held in Amsterdam, Venice and New York. The revived interest in his work as a result. In subsequent years has been given many prestigious commissions, including the Dutch pavilion at the Venice Biennale (1953), the academies of art in Amsterdam and Arnhem, and the press room for the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.

Designed for the visualization of small sculptures at the Third International Sculpture Exhibition in Arnhem Sonsbeek Park in 1955, Rietveld 'Sonsbeek Pavilion' has been rebuilt with new materials at the Kröller-Müller Museum in 2010.

To manage all these projects, Rietveld in 1961 set up a partnership with the architects Johan Van Dillen and J. Van Tricht built hundreds of houses, many of them in the city of Utrecht.

His work has been neglected when rationalism came into vogue, but he has since enjoyed a revival style in 1920 after thirty years.