Pioneer of Dutch product design

Friso Kramer enjoyed a long and fruitful life. Aged 97 he passed away last month. We were privileged to meet him and his wife Netty on many different occasions during the past 25 years. Conversation started in the mid-nineties when Friso tried to find a proper place for his creative heritage. His archive eventually ended up in safe hands at RKD, Netherlands Institute for Art History. In 2017 the Dutch re-launch of the Result chair by Hay notably was his last public performance. Speaking modestly- but clearheaded as always, Friso expressed his gratitude for the warm attention for 'this simple design by Wim Rietveld and myself'. 

Hay’s reintroduction of the Result chair and the Pyramide table was a daring and surprising venture. The two models were marketed by Ahrend since the late 1950s. The Dutch launch took place at Bruns in Bergeijk during Dutch Design Week. It would be hard to come up with a better location: in 2016 Bruns, the world’s leading designer and producer of showcases, installations and other high- tech equipment for museums, bought the abandoned factory once built by legendary weaving mill Weverij De Ploeg and designed by Gerrit Rietveld between 1956 and 1960. The listed building was restored with the utmost care under the guidance of Diederendirrix architects. Facilities such as air conditioning and climate control have been updated to the highest standards, completely in line with Rietveld’s efforts to integrate as much air, light and green into the work environment as possible. Bruns asked young designer Aart van Asseldonk to design a new interior with furniture to match and to provide this legacy of the Nestor of Dutch Design Gerrit Rietveld with a future- proof twist.



‘If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants,’ wrote physicist Isaac Newton in the seventeenth century. This clear perspective is equally applicable to the creative minds of this day and age: architects, designers and producers create their best work when they make connections. Wim Rietveld (1924-1985) not only followed in his father’s footsteps, but also developed a signature of his own. Like Friso Kramer (1922-2019), his colleague at De Cirkel/Ahrend, Wim Rietveld was an industrial designer who pursued reproducibility: the largest possible production on the bas is of rationalized design. Starting from this process-oriented approach he developed a preference for geometric and modular systems. The Mondial, which Wim Rietveld designed with his father for the first post - war World Exhibition in Brussels, played a crucial role in his development. Gerrit Rietveld revived his architectural practice in the mid-1950s. He worked on Weverij De Ploeg parallel to his work on the design for the Dutch Expo ’58 pavilion. He involved his son Wimin the design of the Mondial for Gispen. To develop this ‘chair for the world’, Wim Rietveld fell back on the ‘Egyptian models’ that H.P. Berlage designed in the beginning of the twentieth century. The constructive solution consists of two elements. The inclined line of the front leg is a continuation of the back rest. The squared line of the back legs, in contrast, bends forward to support the seat. The rectangular sleeve in the intersection provides the connection between the left and the right. The typical triangular shape resurfaced a couple of years later in the Pyramide series for De Cirkel/Ahrend.


Friso Kramer and Wim Rietveld met outside the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and subsequently worked together for years. At Expo’58, De Cirkel/Ahrend presented the Result as a Kramer design. Kramer later attributed the design to Rietveld. The confusion is understandable. Wim Rietveld used folded steel sheeting to construct the chair and table, a method that Friso Kramer first used in his famous 1953 Revolt. For the frame, he elaborated on the pyramid- shaped chassis of the Mondial. The folded steel sheeting construction made the chair light and inexpensive to make, which made the model ideal for schools and canteens. Many older Dutch people remember the pleasant little chair from their school days. The Revolt was reissued in the mid- 1990s and the Result and Pyramide faded out of fashion. The fact that these products will now be sold worldwide due to Rolf Hay’s personal preferences dovetails with the philosophy of the democratization of good design, which was warmly endorsed by both Friso Kramer and Wim Rietveld.

Original sources, letters and photos archived at the RKD– Dutch Institute for Art History can be accessed online at