The Zig-Zag Chair by Gerrit Rietveld

If you want something that breaks from interior design stereotypes, the Zig-Zag Chair is a complete departure from conventional designs. It's completely avant-garde.
The Zig-Zag Chair by Gerrit Rietveld

Last update: 24 August, 2019

You’ll find all kinds of furniture in the interior design world. That includes the most avant-garde, extravagant kinds of pieces. This isn’t for everyone, but there are many designers trying to explore new ideas and perspectives. One great example of that is the Zig-Zag chair, by Gerrit Rietveld.

That being said, innovative chairs like this one aren’t always easy to incorporate in your home decor. It would only work if you already have a style that goes well with the style of the chair. It’s important to create balance and harmony in a space.

We love how original and unique Rietveld’s chair is, but we also have to point out that it’s not easy to incorporate it into a more traditional, or classic decor scheme, which is what most people have. At the end of the day, his Zig-Zag Chair is a completely innovative design that breaks from everything that came before it.

The history behind the Zig-Zag Chair

The Zig-Zag Chair was first made between 1932-1934, based on designs by the Dutch architect, Gerrit Reitveld. In it, you can see the influence of all the avant-garde currents that began at the beginning of the 20th century and started to take full form during the second third of the century.

Cubism was the architect’s main source of inspiration. The aesthetic theories and artistic developments in this artistic trend make the Zig-Zag Chair into a fascinating piece of art. It takes the shapes of a chair and reduces it to its most basic possible structure.

You can now see it at the MoMA in New York City. Because it’s an original design by a renowned architect, it comes with a very high price tag at over $1,000.

This chair is a great reflection of the way art has evolved to an essential expression of forms.

Artistic meaning and aesthetic expression

As far as the specific characteristics of this decorative object go, you’ll want to focus on its various aesthetic aspects, as well as the material and structure. It’s a piece of furniture that will draw attention no matter the space you put it in. 

  • The Zig-Zag Chair is made of four rectangular boards. They’re fitted together in a way that the chair is stable, making it both decorative and functional. In other words, though the main reason you’d buy this chair is for decorative purposes, it’s not just decoration.
  • This chair is all about straight lines. That creates a sense of stability, and an interesting combination of diagonal, vertical, and horizontal lines. It’s also interesting how much each part stands out with its sharp angles.
  • On a purely aesthetic level, its structure is strangely simple. The design of the chair is truly very basic, and none of its parts create any conflict between each other. This conveys a sense of firmness and balance.
  • Like we said earlier, the chair is certainly different. It’s nothing like the classic furniture you would have seen in people’s homes in the mid-20th century. This is part of what makes the chair an inevitable centerpiece, and you need a very avant-garde style for it to work well.

Functionality and a break from conventional designs

Gerrit’s main goal was to stand out from the traditional forms of interior design. Instead, he took his inspiration from the artistic movements that were taking shape in the first half of the 20th century.

The movement he seems to belong to the most would be the De Stijl movementThis was where other artists like Mondrian and Doesburg were working with straight lines, modules, geometrical shapes, and colors.

That’s why you see a sense of constructivism and neoplasticism in this chair. It can actually have several different functions. For example, outside being a chair, it can also function as a side table or a small shelf. In other words, it’s a multi-purpose piece of furniture.

Art also exists in fields like interior design.

What styles would the Zig-Zag Chair be good with?

It’s not easy to pick out a single style that would go perfectly with this chair. But there are definitely some where it would fit in, and add some meaning and flair to your decor scheme.

Obviously, it will work well with avant-garde styles, as well as modernist, minimalist, and even certain rustic spaces. If that sounds like your home, or you’re thinking of re-decorating along those lines, give the Zig-Zag Chair a try!

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  • Van den Eerenbeemt, Marc; Zwikstra, Willemijn: Gerrit Rietlveld: wealth of sobriety, Lectura Cultura, 2008.