Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Friso Kramer at the Catherine Houard Gallery, Paris

In honor of Friso Kramer's 90th birthday, the Catherine Houard gallery in Paris has mounted an important retrospective of the Dutch designer's work, with a focus on his chair designs. A founding partner of the Total Design Bureau and a member of the 'Goed Woenen' foundation in the 1950's (whose aim it was to move away from "the lack of style, scarcity of material and the housing shortage" caused by the destruction of WW11), Kramer designed his celebrated 'Revolt' chair in 1953 for the company De Cirkel. It became a popular icon of the emerging Dutch Modernist design style and attracted widespread acclaim at the 1954 Milan Triennale. A retrospective of Kramer's work was held at the Stedelijk Museumin Amsterdam in 1977 and an exhibition at the Boymans van Beuningen Museum in Rotterdam in 1991.

This 'Revolt' chair with writing tablet (1953) in molded plywood with a bent sheet metal frame was inspired by the plywood chairs of Eames and Jacobsen but has industrial qualities more akin to Jean Prouvé's aesthetic. The legs are not metal tube, as in most designs of the period, but folded sheet metal. The model has been used in schools for several decades now.

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