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Red and Blue Armchair: the Symbol of Neo-Plasticism

The red and blue armchair by Rietveld really represents a piece of history furniture: a symbol of modern design and the practical application of Neo- Plasticism concepts. This art movement born at the beginning of the last century in Holland and was clearly opposite to the previous art movements, dominant until that time. Gerrit Thomas Rietveld was the most famous exponent of Neo-Plasticism.

And if we know the history of the red and blue armchair, if we look with attention to the stylistic characteristics of this armchair and if we know the artistic background of its creator, we can understand that this armchair should be considered the incarnation in the design field of the canon of Neo-Plasticism. And, on the other side, this armchair is also a beautiful object with an unique style.

Gerrit Rietveld conceived each piece of furniture as an ideal, abstract composition of surfaces and lines in space. The rigor with which he put this into practice makes “Roodblauwe stoel” a key object in modern furniture design. The form of abstraction Rietveld adopts here bears comparison to painter Piet Mondrian. Mondrian, and later Rietveld, were among the artists and architects who grouped around Theo van Doesburg and his journal De Stijl, and whose radical concepts had a lasting impact on twentieth- century art.

Both Mondrian and Rietveld reduced given realities to their linear and planar characteristics: where Mondrian took landscapes as his model, Rietveld focused on the concept of a traditional, massive armchair, which he transformed into a geometric entity. In doing so, as Rietveld himself explained, he was concerned with joining “the components without crippling them, so that to the greatest degree possible the one is not dominated or made dependent on the other; most importantly, the work in its entirety must be able to stand freely and brightly on its own two feet, and the form must triumph over the material.”

The followers of De Stijl adopted the “Roodblauwe stoel,” at that point still in its first, unpainted version, as their manifesto. It was the initial object which served to illustrate the principles of the group to the public at large, and provided Theo van Doesburg with an outstanding example of furniture as “abstract, realistic sculptures for our future interiors.”

The style of the red and blue armchair by Rietveld is really unique in the history of design: the first element that creates this unique style is the material of the armchair, the wood. The wood is a warm and classical material, and in this armchair is reduced to its essence of geometrical shape: indeed this armchair is made by 15 pieces of wood. Every piece got a rectangular shape, but a different size from the others. And all of these pieces was combine one with another to made the backrest, the seat and the base of this unique armchair.

If you choose the red and blue armchair by Rietveld for your home or office, you will get a rather unique piece in modern history of design, with an elegant and particular style.
 

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