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Zigzag furniture

Rietveld saw the zigzag chair as a variation on the chair made out of one piece. His first sketch designs show a chair that is bent out of one sheet. This starting point was eventually the closest to the zigzag chairs made by Metz & Co. out of bent multiplex, designed in 1938.

 

However it was not straightforward to fold a chair out of one piece that would be strong enough. An earlier model of the zigzag chair was therefore made by bending a sheet of fibre over a frame of steel strips. With a following variation Rietveld placed loose pieces of multiplex between two steel strips. Eventually it appeared more efficient to make the chair out of four different pieces of wood.

 

The fixing method remained a moot point; above all it was difficult to make the sharp corners sufficiently strong. Initially Rietveld tried to do it only with swallow tail fixings; later he used nuts and bolts. Furthermore it was necessary to place an extra wooden wedge in the internal corner as strengthening. Rietveld used this construction method as a starting point to design more variations on the zigzag chair.

 

View the photos on Flickr.

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