Rietveld's chair for Gispen; Mondial
part 4 - Icon
In 2006, Gispen was in business for ninety years. To mark this anniversary, Gispen, together with Rietveld by Rietveld, reissued the Mondial stoel (Mondial chair) on the market. Since we are almost 100 years old, we're looking back into our rich history.
Graphic Designer Wim Crouwel about Mondial
Balancing on the edge of what is possible. This is how the graphic designer Wim Crouwel characterised the Mondial chair, which he saw for the first time in 1957.
Crouwel, who was responsible for the design of the Benelux pavilion at the World’s Fait in Brussels, was also closely involved with the furnishings. He recalls that the Mondial chair instantly made a great impression on him. ‘You can see at a single glance how minimalist the design is.
Everything has been reduced to its essence. As far as I can remember, we put about ten of the chairs in the Benelux pavilion. I have always felt it a shame that nothing ever came of the Mondial, but looking back perhaps you have to conclude that in all its simplicity the design was too far ahead of its time.
As it was originally planned, I suspect that at the time it would have been almost impossible to produce it properly and thus make it strong enough’.
'Gispen made the chair like it was ment by Rietveld. This implementation is both aesthetic and technically better than the original ' Richard Hutten
Crouwel ranks the design of the Mondial chair along with Rietveld’s pioneering Zigzag chair from 1932-1934. ‘To me, both chairs are an example of the purest form of minimalism. The Zigzag chair is made of one plate, representing sitting with this simple, clear line. It’s the same with the Mondial chair.
From one single point, the pipe, there are four lines. There is nothing more.
The solution using that torsion pipe was not in itself invented by Rietveld himself. He had probably seen it at Friso Kramer’s. The difference is that Rietveld simplified its use still further. He solved it so purely. If you go that far as a designer, you deliberately stretch the boundary of what a chair is and what a chair can be, and so you are on the edge of what is possible.
In that respect, Rietveld was definitely breaking new ground’.
This was the last article from the Mondial series, soon a new topic.