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Zig-Zag Chair by G. Rietveld

$45,196.19

About

Zig-Zag chair, design 1932, executed c. 1939-1947, Produced by G. van de Groenekan or Metz & Co, NL Solid Mahogany Wood This chair is one of the earliest fully documented zig zag chairs by Rietveld, full provenance and expertise available The Zig-Zag chair, designed by Gerrit Rietveld in 1934, is an early example of a cantilevered seat. The simple construction, composed of four wooden boards, creates a ribbon of wood forming a Z-shape. Seemingly unstable, this structure pushes the boundaries of balance and gravity. Its revolutionary approach to sitting makes it still as modern as it was almost 90 years ago. Although one of Rietvelds most well known designs, copies with a documented provenance from before 1950 are extremely rare. These chairs were made to order by Van de Groenekan and distributed by Metz & Co. This specific chair is part of a larger set, commissioned by a private family. Made of precious mahogany, instead of the more common spruce, it follows the clients wishes for use in the tropics, where the family lived at the time. Part of the Exhibition about modernism 'De Klare Lijn'.

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About the Design

Zig-Zag Chair

Designed by Gerrit Rietveld
“It is not a chair but a designer joke,” Gerrit Rietveld (1888–1964) famously said of the piece that would, ironically, become perhaps his most recognizable chair design. Introduced in 1934, the Zig-Zag chair was the result of Dutch department store Metz & Co having enlisted Rietveld to create a chair for mass production. By this time, Rietveld had gained international acclaim for designs like his famous Red and Blue chair as well as the groundbreaking Rietveld Schröder House (1924) in his native Utrecht (now a UNESCO World Heritage Site), where he had brought to life many of the ideals of abstraction espoused in the De Stijl (“the Style”) movement. By the late 1920s, though, the designer had largely abandoned De Stijl in favor of a new movement, Nieuwe Zakelijkheid, or “New Pragmatism,” which aligned with other modernist movements for its emphasis on functionality and eschewing of ornamentation. Rietveld began experimenting with alternative, inexpensive materials like plywood and concrete. Metz & Co’s request for a simple seat, then, would seem a good fit. In the form of the Zig-Zag chair, Rietveld delivered one of the earliest examples of a cantilevered seat. Unlike cantilevered models by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer, however, Rietveld’s didn’t rely on a metal frame. In fact, the Zig-Zag chair is constructed completely from wood, its graphic shape a result of exceptionally precise craftsmanship. Rietveld hoped to produce a chair from one continuous piece of material; while the Zig-Zag doesn’t quite achieve that, it appears to: The seat’s four parts are connected by dovetail joints made from the same wood as the rest of the chair. As a result, the final product appears deceptively simple — despite the carefully calibrated measurement and engineering that goes into its shape, it has the semblance of precariousness. Rietveld would go on to devise various versions of the seat — including a beloved high chair for children — and used it in many of the subsequent interiors he designed as his career developed into more of an architect’s than that of a furniture designer. In 1971, Italian manufacturer Cassina bought the rights to the Zig-Zag chair and has been producing it ever since, even offering it in a selection of primary colored finishes, which harken back to Rietveld’s De Stijl days. The chair’s famous fans include artist Donald Judd and designer Karl Lagerfeld, and it sits in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.
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