September 15, 2008

Crate Chair Junior By Gerrit Rietveld, Reissued By Other Rietvelds


In 1934, the Dutch architect and furniture designer Gerrit Rietveld sought to combine the utopian geometric elementalism of de Stijl with an economics and authenticity of material by--look, everyone was broke, so he made furniture out of wood from leftover crates. To beef up the margin, he sold kits of pre-cut lumber so the honest workman could build his own chairs for his own humble, modernist home.


Last year, the first pair of child-sized Krat [Crate] easy chairs, which Rietveld built for his daughter, sold at Christie's for a decidedly immodest amount [which I am too cheap to pay to look up.] [update: so I called Christie's to get the result: EUR10,2000 against a mere EUR1,000-1,500 estimate. wow.]

But 2007 was also the year that a couple of Rietveld's grandchildren motivated and re-released the Crate Chair Junior as a build-it-yourself kit. According to the Dutch press, Japanese tourists are packing home a couple hundred Crate Juniors a month from Amsterdam's museum gift shops.

In this season of depressing exchange rates and global financial meltdowns, might I suggest savoring the irony of schlepping a $275 box of 1x6's halfway around the world--and then just building a chair your own damn self?

update update: Save yourself the trip, if not the money. Genius Jones has the Crate Chair Junior in the US for $415. Guess the Rietvelds haven't learned about wholesale.

Rietveld Crate Chair Junior in red, blue, yellow, or unfinished, EUR179 []
Rietveld Crate Easy Chairs at Christie's Amsterdam [, seriously]
kind of related: Wave Hill Rietveld Chair [storkbitesman]


I've got an account. What date was the sale?

I just called Christie's and added the info. thanks for prodding me out of my sloth.

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