The Red Blue chair by Gerrit Rietveld is one of my favorite chair designs and is a fantastic example of early modernist industrial design. I was really drawn to it when Bill Green talked about it in his class and I did some research to learn more about it. The chair was originally designed in 1917 out of beech wood. I’ve put a picture of one of the original unpainted prototypes below. It wasn’t until 1923 with inspiration from Piet Mondrian and the de Stijl movement that the chair was given its signature colors. Rietveld hoped that the chair could be mass produced so he made all of the pieces out of standard sized lumber.
Rietveld was part of a group that hoped to restore the spirit of the European people after World War I by creating a sort of man-made utopia. He believed his designs helped further this goal. As Bill has said, many people say the chair is uncomfortable but if you actually sit in one, like the one in the Architecture library, it’s actually very comfortable. I was inspired by the Red Blue chair when I made my chair for the street seat competition. I took the main colors from it and also made my chair have a similar seat and back angle.
See the article on the MoMA website if you want to know more.