My fascination with chairs and furniture continues as we explore the Zig Zag chair designed by famous Dutch furniture designer and architect Gerrit Thomas Rietveld.
Gerrit is well known for being one of the principle members of the ‘De Stijl’ movement, breaking his design down to basic cubist elements often using primary colours to emphasise different planes. This definitely becomes apparent in a lot of his other chairs such as the famous Red and Blue chair designed for the Rietveld Schröder House, but we can also see it quite prominently in this Zig Zag chair with its levels. I would recommend watching this short video created by Phaidon on Gerrit Thomas Rietveld and the Rietveld Schröder House, it will definitely give you some context towards this article if you’ve never experienced his works before.
Although the Zig Zag chair is simple in its appearance it’s actually quite a complex construction. It uses only four elements which are joined together using a system of dovetailing, all joints are placed at optimum locations for load bearing since it has no legs. The supporting part of the chair is the diagonal wood plane leading to the front of the main seating plane. What I love about this chair is that it’s perfectly lightweight and requires a minimum amount of space to store, it’s so functional and simplistic. All elements have been reduced down to only what’s necessary.
This, in my eyes, is one of the most important chairs to exist and led the way for many others of this kind. Gerrit Rietveld was also brilliant as a designer and an individual, although he was very experimental through the ‘De Stijl’ movement he broke out of that bubble and really concentrated on a functional style of design that revolved around standardisation, inexpensive production methods and also new materials. It just shows that as you mature concepts and ideals develop into something more sustainable.
Overall I hope you enjoy the few images of the Zig Zag chair that I’ve put together here, you can find plenty more online but I thought these were some of the best and showed the different angles and how it has been put together.