If you have been reading my Design section you know how much I love the Form vs. Function debate. At various stages of life I find myself identify with different sides. During my B.Arch days I was staunchly on team “Function”, but post Industrial Design education and few years of work in the field seems to be gradually pulling me into team “Form”. So today I want to write about one more piece of furniture which further fuels this debate- The Zig-Zag Chair by Gerrit Rietveld.
Designed in the 1930s by the Dutch architect & designer Gerrit Rietveld, the Zig-Zag chair was, in his own words, a designer joke! It is his interpretation of the “De Stijl” movement and has a permanent spot at the Museum of Modern Art. It was made for the Schroder House in Utrech, Holland and is an example Modernist design principles.
Made of natural cherry wood. The chair comprises of just four elements joined with dovetail joints and fixed with brass nuts and bolts through triangular corner blocks. Rietveld was said to be aware of the discrepancy between the simple shape and the relatively complicated construction and said himself, it is not a chair but a “designer joke.” Goal of the design was to create a functional form which does not displace space but allows it to be perceived in continuance.
It was originally sold by the Dutch store Metz & Co. “Zig-Zag” today is produced by the Cassina Company which bought the rights to manufacture all of Rietveld’s furniture designs in 1971. Since, the Zig-Zag has been interpreted by other designers in various ways.
Looks so simple but is so complicated to construct, yet Reitveld still managed to achieve his goal of a minimalist form without compromising the the function of a chair i.e stability and comfort.
What do you think about the Zig Zag and its story? Let me know in the comments.