23 June 2007 till 14 October 2007

Consummate Chrome

D3 and avant-garde furniture

Persbeeld tentoonstelling Volmaakt Verchroomd
The exhibition
This exhibition offers a marvellous overview of Dutch interior design in the 1930s. The emphasis is on the tubular steel furniture produced by the D3 company in Rotterdam. Major designers like Paul Schuitema and Cor Alons turned their innovative talents to what was then a shockingly new material. D3 even produced a prototype tubular steel lounger by Gerrit Rietveld.Consummate Chrome will show D3’s designs in relation to the wider interior design world of the 1930s. One entire exhibition space will be devoted to the many varieties of tubular steel furniture produced at that time in the Netherlands. Among them will be an example of the famous ‘beugelstoel’ dining chair designed by Gerrit Rietveld (1888-1964), which was once the property of the celebrated Dutch artist Charley Toorop. To convey how shockingly modern tubular steel furniture seemed to people at the time, some examples of other furniture of the period will be exhibited for the sake of comparison. These will include Hague-style pieces by Frits Spanjaard (1889-1978) and a French art deco interior by J.F.A. Semey (1891 – 1973). D3

The key focus of the exhibition will be the D3 furniture company (circa 1932 – 1935). Despite its brief existence, the firm produced an amazing amount of tubular steel furniture. Its main designer was Paul Schuitema (1897-1973), who was also one of the company’s three directors. Schuitema’s designs combined simplicity and comfort. Because he wanted his furniture to be available to the general public, he had his designs mass-produced. But mass-production also gave him the chance to perfect his pieces over time. As a result, each of them is a feat of aesthetic design. One famous example is his well-known 1935 chromed metal armchair in the shape of a twisted paperclip.
Other important D3 designers were the Hague interior designer Cor Alons (1892-1967) and industrial designer Arie Verbeek (1893-1970), while a prototype lounger was based on a design by Gerrit Rietveld.

Dutch Originals

To coincide with this exhibition, the Dutch Originals furniture company is bringing a number of Paul Schuitema’s designs back into production. These remakes will also be on show and can even be tried out by visitors. Among the material included in the exhibition to illustrate the critical reception given to tubular steel furniture in the 1930s will be a cartoon showing a tubular steel chair blossoming out into a trumpet. Especially for this exhibition, Dutch Originals has managed to turn this drawing into a unique three-dimensional object.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a Dutch-language book entitled Volmaakt Verchroomd. D3 en het avantgarde-meubel in Nederland (Nai Publishers).

The Meermanno Museum

The Meermanno Museum in The Hague is organising a concurrent retrospective of Paul Schuitema’s graphic and typographic work, to run from 23 June to 2 September 2007 under the title Paul Schuitema. De foto in de avant-gardetypografie. (www.meermanno.nl)


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