Gerrit Rietveld’s “Note on a Baby Chair” (1918)

Translated from the Dutch by Hans L.C. Jaffé.

In De Stijl.  (H.N. Abrams.  New York:1971).

• • •

Proceeding from the familiar requirements — comfortable and firm to sit in, adjustable height, washable, not too strong and heavy — an attempt has been made to employ regularity as a clear plastic expression of the object itself, without extraneous detail.  The wood is green, the straps are red, the pins which hold the straps in the holes in the wooden members are light [131] green.  It is possible to hang a red leather cushion from the upper rail of the back rest.  The little gate in front and the little table top are removable.

The ordinary dowelled joint, by which the post takes the rail, is still used for nearly everything.  It is a very satisfying method of working and it is a fine thing to see, for example, a set of rails and posts with hole, peg and groove.  Once the piece of furniture has been put together, however, no more is to be seen of this often very expensive jointing.  This jointing sometimes gives rise to an unintentional plane surface.  It is understandable that people should wish to emphasize this constructionally achieved form still more with decoration.  The jointing employed here was an obvious choice because of its simplicity and clarity of expression.  Moreover, it is particularly strong because the ends of the wood retain their full strength.  It requires very little time to produce, which makes it appropriate to modern labor conditions.  The greatest advantage is that it gives extreme freedom in the positioning of the rails, which achieve a greater expression of space, enabling one to break away from the constructionally tied plane surface.

[From De Stijl, Vol. II, No. 9, p. 102]

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~ by Ross Wolfe on October 17, 2010.

One Response to “Gerrit Rietveld’s “Note on a Baby Chair” (1918)”

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