Hendrik Petrus Berlage didn’t like curves. In his younger years he tried to avoid curves as much as possible especially in his furniture design. This sideview of one of his later armchairs shows he is on the verge of lifting the curve ban. Also his way of constructing the declining back without having to bend the back shows here in a particular way.
Richard Hutten designed these chairs as a tribute to Hendrik Petrus Berlage. Berlage was the architect who designed the The Hague Municipal Museum of Modern Art (or Gemeentemuseum) in The Hague.
The chairs are used in the museum’s restaurant.
Berlage was a man who did not like curves. Because a chair needs a back that reclines a bit to make it more comfortable to sit on, he applied another design principle, according to reviewers of his work borrowed from the Egyptian Chair: Not having the back and the hind legs of the chair being made from one curving piece of wood, but to have the back lean on the seating or, like in this chair on the ruler connecting hind legs and front legs. Frank Lloyd Wright, who inspired Berlage did the same with this high back chair.
For me learning about De Stijl, a group of artists, designers and architects, but also the name of a Dutch magazine by the same name, is part of uncovering the history of chair design. Therefore I’m sharing this find of the scans of the first 3 volumes of the magazine “De Stijl” by … the University Library of the University of Iowa.
De Stijl magazine was edited by Theo van Doesburg. Leiden, 1917-1932. In total 8 volumes with 90 numbers were published.
The print is from the hall of a Dutch holiday home designed by J.J.P. Oud with benches integrated in the structure of the hall.
Although Hendrik Petrus Berlage was not part of De Stijl as he was from a slightly older generation of architects, he must have influenced the members of De Stijl. He integrated a bench in a similar way in the The Hague City Museum of Modern Art (Gemeentemuseum Den Haag). Unfortunately The angle of my lens was not wide enough to capture both benches at once:-)
Update 2023: later I found out that Oud knew Berlage and worked with him and thus is most likely influenced by him as well.