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Piet Warffemius (1956)

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It took me 2 decades to finally appreciate Piet Warffemius his works. Personally i was not that much convinced by his early graphic works , but from the moment he depicted branches and leaves in his paintings and translated them into cortensteel “outside” sculptures, i was convinced of their quality and now we have almost 7 years now our own Warffemius sculpture ” van een naar twee” in our garden.

It is not unique, it comes from an edition of 5 copies but that does not matter. For us it was our first and until now our only outside sculpture. The most beautiful aspect is that the sculpture present itself differnntly with the change of the seasons. Cortensteel is not a evry friendly material but corrosion gives it a beautful reddisch browm patine which blends perfect with flowers and plants.

Since i have been collecting Warffemius books and found some extra ones which are now for sale at www.ftn-books

 

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Wim Crouwel and the Stuyvesant Foundation, 1971

1971 is the year the Stuyvesant Stichting existed 10 years and invited Wim Crouwel for their yearly publication. They had done so on other occasions and Crouwel was their preferred designer. The design in 1971, silver fond, blind printing on the cover and a small font above the middle line.

What strikes me is that in its simplicity and looking much alike the Zero exhibition catalogues form the late Sixties he had done for the Stedelijk Museum. Crouwel found a way to make it special and typically a Wim Crouwel design. The size is familiar. the lay out of the pages too, but the cover is different. He uses a small font for the STUYVESANT STICHTING in a very delicate light blue color on a silver printed fond. This was not the easiest of prints jobs , because beside the silver fond a blind printed title in the cover had to be made. The printer Lecturis did a perfect job with this exclusive publication. It has taken me 15 years to finally find a copy of this highly collectable Wim Crouwel designed book, but now it is for sale at www.ftn-books.com. I now hope it will not take me another 15 years to find the next copy.


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Centraal Museum Utrecht and book design

Every decade in Dutch design and typography has its own specialties. In the Interbellum there was the photomontage, Isotype and typography by Zwart, Schuitema and Arntz. After WWII , the Stedelijk MUseum was a source of inspiration for its director Willem Sandberg who made beautiful catalogues for his exhibitions in the Stedelijk. In the late fifties and early sixties Benno Wissing and Wim Crouwel lead the way in design, followed by the Total Design agency who had a leading role in dutch design in the seventies and eighties, which brings us to the Nineties. Here it becomes interesting. The large museums in the Netherlands practically all had their contracts with dutch “house” designers. Walter Nikkels for the van Abbemuseum, Swip Stolk for the Groninger Museum and Gracia Lebbink for the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag were such designers. And then there is the Centraal Museum. They had a very consistent publication program in which design , specially sized/formatted books and bindings were very important. www.ftn-books.com has some excellent examples of these publications for sale . I knew of course of these publications, but when i rearranged some of my inventory, it struck me that these publications are and will become more important in the world of book design every year from now. These publications are still available at reasonable prices , but it will not be long before others will recognize the importance of these books too.

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Paul Schuitema (1897-1973) and dutch design.

Just a screenshot from my computer when i searched for some information on Paul Schuitema and instantly you see the importance of Schuitema for dutch design.

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Here it is the ultimate combination between a spectacular lay out, great typography and photo montage resulting in a highly recognizable style….this is Paul Schuitema. Schuitema a contemporary of Piet Zwart, was not as well known as Piet Zwart , but both did their ground breaking work in the Interbellum and can be considered as extremely important for graphic design. Schuitema differs from Piet Zwart.

Where Piet Zwart excels in Typography and lay-out, the photo montage is the part in which Schuitema excels. Both are important, not only because they are essential in the development of dutch design, but more and more they are recognized as being important for graphic design all over the world in general and their influence can be found everywhere. This imporance is underlined by orderes on these 2 artists from all over the world.

The Gemeentemuseum has both artists in its collection and because of the former curator Flip Bool , these collections are possibly the most important in the world.

When you come to the Netherland check the exhibitions at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, maybe you are lucky and there is a special exhibition on one of them. If not know that www.ftn-books.com has some nice books available on both these graphic designers.

 

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Carlo Mollino (1905-1973) …multi disciplined artist

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Architect, Photographer, furniture designer and engineer. All these disciplines were combined in one person…the genius Carlo Mollino.

Educated at the Politecnico di Torino he soon became one of the leading architects in that city. Linda and I will be visiting Torino later this year and we certainly will see some of these timeless Mollino buildings.

 

but for me Mollino stands for design and photography, because in both he excels. His engineering skills are undoubtedly there and so are his architectural accomplishments, but with his photography and design he is truly avant-garde. Look at his photographs and you know exactly where Araki and Saudek took their inspiration from and his furniture…. it has the “free” style of the later Memphis group but was much more stylish. (BTW this desk is still in production).

Mollino was a true genius who’s works are better known each year, because his name is not only known in Italy anymore. Because of some very important publications, exhibitions and books, his fame spreads all over the world. A unique artist and personality and one of the great multi disciplined artist from last century.

I found a very good blog on him at this address: https://buildllc.wordpress.com/2008/12/07/the-work-of-carlo-mollino/

and for some Mollino publications please visit www.ftn-books.com

 

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Martin Visser ( 1922-2009 )

Famous for his dutch designs. Especially his Martin Visser couch is a design classic, but Visser was so much more than a designer. Martin Visser build one of the most important private art collections in the world. Specializing in die Neue Wilden and Minimal art, his collection was after his death on the wish list of all the major and  important museums in the Netherlands. He was one of the first to collect Cobra, He recognized the importance of Keith Haring and was one of the first to collect Kiefer at a large scale. Visser’s life was art and the House Visser was designed by Gerrit Rietveld and the adjustments to the house done by Aldo van Eyck.

What is more to say about him.., He worked together with the greats in dutch design like Kho Liang Ie and Wim Crouwel. He knew all the great german painters from the eighties and conceptual art and land art had no mysteries to him. Visser was a force in the dutch art world and the Kroller Muller MUseum can show why he was such an important collector because they received the gift of 400 works from the Martin Visser collection. www.ftn-books.com has some nice publications on the Martin Visser collection.

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Wim Crouwel..design of the Atelier series for the Stedelijk Museum.

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The focus of this blog is on the covers of a very impressive series Wim Crouwel designed for the Stedelijk Museum during a period of roughly 14 years in the Sixties and Seventies ( between 1965 and 1979). This series has the typical Crouwel layout and typography and beside these elements these designs are ” clean” without any frills ….just function. These were done when the Total Design agency had their “GOLDEN YEARS” and Wim Crouwel was one of the most important members of Total Design ( founded in 1963). This is a great series of 16 publications . Some with loose pages in portfolio, others in the shape of posters or just ordinary booklets, but all have the quality design Wim Crouwel stands for. Most of these publications are available at www.ftn-books.com and if your are looking for other Crouwel publications search for them at the same site.

 

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Jean Gorin (1899-1981) and Wim Crouwel

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Jean Gorin , a typical 50’s /60’s artist has stayed a little obscure outside France, but this is undeserved. His art is influenced by Piet Mondrian and Constructivism , but has developed into an art typical of Jean Gorin.

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This was recognized by Willem Sandberg who gave Gorin a solo presentation in the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam in 1967. Here it is getting more interesting from my point of view, because together with this exhibition one of the very very best Wim Crouwel designed catalogues ever was published. The catalogue typically Crouwel sized was partly printed in black and the other part of the text on the cover executed in embossed printing. Together with the design of the catalogue itself it has become an exquisite artist book on Jean Gorin which is still available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Friso Kramer and the Result chair

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A year ago i devoted a blog to Friso Kramer and his designs. Todays blog is on just one obeject by Friso Kramer….the RESULT chair. a design icon and one of the great dutch designs from last century. This chair was made for a very long time by Ahrend and designed while he was working for this company in the 50’s. Production was ended some 10 years ago, but now a danish company together with Ahrend has given a new life to this design with a reedition of this magnificent and versatile chair. This made me once again realize the importance of Ahrend and specially the work that Friso Kramer has done for them. the Result chair and the Pyramid table by Wim Rietveld are both classics, but there is no doubt that they will fit in any contemporary interior, because both these designs are time less. www.ftn-books.com has added a nice title on both these designs.