by Reter Drijver, Johannes Niemeijer
We find the furniture of Gerrit Rietveld (1888 - 1964) primitive, crudely made, and incredibly exciting. Of all the members of the various schools of Arts and Crafts furniture, Rietveld was the only one who really succeeded in designing furniture that was easy to build, used inexpensive materials, and to this day still looks like the cutting edge of modern furniture design. Rietveld's furniture embodies the very definition of great design in that it doesn't age or seem trite. Rietveld's work, almost all of it, certainly everything in this book, is of course about 75 years old, but wouldn't be out of place in any modern interior. His work is one of the foundations of modern furniture design - stuff Ikea dumbed down to get their designs. We have had a copy of the original edition of this book in our library for years and it was wonderful to find it back in print again. This newer edition contains lots of color photographs of the original furniture, expanded notes on construction and plans for some of the rarer Rietveld designs. We are planning to make a series of his "Zig-zag" chairs for our dining room, and if we had space for his chaises - well, they'd be on the list too. This book not only has the original plan of the Zig-zag chair, it also has construction details for the chair and for an alternate version of the Zig-zag with arms that we didn't know existed! Reitveld's furniture is really easy to make. The joinery is well within the skill of even a rank beginner, and you come out with world class 20th century furniture. And it's comfortable, as we know from having sat in both his Zig-zag chair and the famous "Red and Blue Chair"(see photo). The book itself contains 35 designs and has bilingual text - English and Dutch. Measurements are all in metric. We just use the closest size stock in inches. The designs range from his famous chairs to tables, stools, a magnificent sideboard, a few pieces scaled for children, and some lamps from his more architectural work. This is the only book we know of measured drawings of important 20th century furniture. And this is really important furniture! 8" x 9 1/2" in color.