Gerrit Thomas Rietveld’s Red and Blue Chair brought him international renown. But the architect, designer and member of the famous Dutch De Stijl Group is less well-known for his lamps. For example, the hanging lamp, which he designed for a doctor’s surgery in 1922 and which is now a true classic of the Tecta collection.
Rietveld’s small tafellampje is a treasure that is still waiting to be discovered. He designed this table lamp with its strict geometric shape in 1925. Surprisingly modern for its time, it has never been produced in series before. After consulting Rietveld’s heirs, Tecta decided to give the lamp the attention it deserves. The exact dimensions of the original drawing served as the basis of a small, exclusive series.
From 2019 it will be available as a first limited edition of 200 numbered and signed lamps. The tafellampje features some enchanting details – just like in the hanging lamp, you will find a varnished luminaire inside the lampshade. Made of aluminium, the lamp head conceals modern technology and LED lighting. This creation by Gerrit Rietveld, “the maker of things – sometimes magical things,” as Peter Smithson called him, is a small, precious sculpture that will enrich the table or windowsill.
The L25 was reinterpreted in color by the Studio für Gestaltung. The result is a limited first edition of 5 pieces each: The L25N in neon-orange, neon-green and ultramarine – an ultramarine reminiscent of the famous red-blue chair by Rietveld or quoting Piet Mondrian with his color-intensive pictures. “Rietveld and his contemporaries of the De Stijl movement had a very courageous and intense use of colors in their time,” says designer Tobias Groß, “and we wanted to take up this courage. At that time, powerful primary colors worked as statements and emphasized form language and construction. We follow this idea”.
With the almost 40-centimeter-high table lamp, which Rietveld designed in 1925, he transformed the horizontal and vertical into a captivating, small object whose filigree construction merges into a single unit through the new colors. The painting is complex: the lamp has to be painted about nine times to achieve its color intensity. Only then does the luminous effect emerge, making it appear more sculptural, less technical and thus more contemporary. It was a challenging task for Tecta to translate the design into contemporary LED technology. Today, the result is a luminaire that is as technically mature as if it had been designed for modern light sources right from the start.
»The first thought that came into my head when I began to review my personal relationship to Rietveld and the Schröder House was to avoid scuttlebutt as it was Rietveld’s reserved manner that I admired most. It seemed to me the only one truly becoming of an architect.« Rietveld touched only small things, each was given a life of its own, enriching the town (usually his home town) for its ordinary sake. But sometimes this resulted in an international sensation that touched the life of every man.
Rietveld was] … never the assessor, the commissioner, the author of preliminary notes, or the knowledgeable expert on a government panel. Simply a builder and furniture maker. Simply a builder and furniture maker? Then one understands why our worlds are built. It is inescapable that the Red-Blue Chair and the Schröder house are magical objects, and it is this that drew me to Rietveld in the first place. The work of the members of the De Stijl group is usually wonderful, some few De Stijl objects are magical things. Theo van Doesburg’s never are. Mondrian’s often, Van der Lecks very often – but children’s magic, not adult magic. It is not my place to attempt to explain how this magic came about. I cannot believe that somebody could be magical by design, but the mysticism of the early De Stijl Movement – the theosophy (even Le Corbusier quoted Krishna Murti in his »Ville Radieuse«) – cannot be entirely discounted as a factor. There is however no doubt that the De Stijl Movement lent new vitality to architecture and painting in its time; and its impact can still be felt, just as one can sense the magic of an earlier age in Segesta – this type of magic endures for a long time. The magic rests within the very objects; not within their photographs. In the aftermath of the first war, De Stijl objects were what Pollock and Eames were to become for my generation after the second war – they enabled the arts to begin once more. P.S., March 1965 Will people speak about the Eames of today as they once did of Rietveld: »What’s so special about the things they made? It’s just a house and a few chairs.« A.S., published in Bauen und Wohnen, July 1965.