All posts by Annie Strom

Gerrit Thomas Rietveld – Zig Zag Chair


Another example of Rietveld’s furniture design is the Zig Zag chair. It is made with four wooden squares in the shape of a Z. It was made for Rietveld’s Schroder House but is now produced by an Italian manufacturer. His first attempt to create the chair, he was aiming to make it out of one continuous piece of wood. This ended up being a failure but continuing his work, he was able to create the Zig Zag chair instead. It was a new thinking process in terms of designing furniture. Rietveld thought first about the form and the color instead of simply thinking in the constraints of creating a chair. It seems to me that this thought process worked in his favor.



Gerrit Thomas Rietveld – Bauhaus



One of my favorite design eras was in the time of the Bauhaus school. In 1923, Rietveld was invited to share his exhibit at the school. His design made an impact on the students and the teachers. Many designs from the school were modular, simple and clean cut. Rietveld’s Red and Blue chair exemplified many of the design properties that came from that school. Many designs focused on the simplicity of form and color. Like in Rietveld’s Schroder House, one of the main themes of the school was to create one piece of art. Previously, the architect designed the building, the designer designed the interior and the landscape architect designed the exterior. The Schroder House is an example of how one designer designed all aspects of the building, inside and outside. Het_Rietveld_Schroderhuis_foto_Ernst_Moritz_jpg_630x378_q85_crop-1_upscale-1


Gerrit Thomas Rietveld – Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam


The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam was his largest project. So large in fact that he was unable to finish it before his death. Luckily for him, he wasn’t the only one who was committed to its completion and the building was completed nine years after he died. In 2015, 1.9 million people visited the museum making it the second most visited museum in the Netherlands. It is rectangular in shape and consists of four stories, each of which serve a different role for the museum.



Gerrit Thomas Rietveld – Schroder House


His architecture also capsulated the era in his design of the Schroder House. It was built in 1924 for Mrs. Truus Schroder-Schrader and her three children. She was very particular with what she wanted her house to be like and rejected the original plans. She wanted a house that had few walls and seemed to blur the lines of outside and inside. Once the building was made, she lived in the house until her death in 1985. It has since been restored and now serves as a museum. One of her children grew up to be one of the first female architects in the Netherlands. No doubt she was inspired in part by Rietveld.

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Gerrit Thomas Rietveld – Red and Blue Chair



Rietveld was not just an architect. He was a designer, a creative and someone who pushed the boundaries of normal. He designed the famous Red and Blue chair in 1917 that is one of the centerpieces of De Stijl. He was a believer of simplicity. One might even associate his work with the precursors to Ikea. He was a supporter of mass produced furniture and was hoping that this chair would be next in line to be mass produced. The Red and Blue chair traveled to different exhibits and was on loan to the Delft University of Technology Faculty of Architecture when a fire destroyed the entire building. Don’t panic though, firefighters were able to save the chair and is now safely in Auckland, New Zealand. desenho-red-and-blue1[2]

Gerrit Thomas Rietveld – Introduction


Rietveld was born in 1888 in Utrecht and lived there until his death in 1964. He was the son of a carpenter and was employed by his father until he was 15 years old. He went on to work as a draftsman, technical draftsman and soon was able to apply the things he learned to his own practice. He was most well-known for his architecture and paintings but he was also an enthusiast of photography, design and literature. He was a part of a group that found “De Stijl”. This era is one of my favorites because of how different it was from everything else that was going on at the time. It wasn’t the most popular design circulating at the time by any means. The artists knew this but held fast to their designs and celebrated it regardless of the opinion of the majority. travel-Utrecht-Netherlands-Tour-de-France-Tamara-Hinson-588306


The Lodge Camp MacLean – Burlington, WI

1450825_644811828894395_1985488879_nCamp can either be a blast or a total disaster. For me, camp was an absolute blast and the time of my life. I went as often and for as long as my parents would let me. The Great Lodge was the heart of the camp. It mainly serves as a cafeteria but is also used for many other activities and gatherings.


When it rained, we would pack up anything weird we could fit in a sleeping bag and brought it to the lodge to play Dutch auction (a truly fun and creative game if you have never played before). The older groups would have a dance in the lodge and have a blast goofing off together. Camp activities were mostly outdoors, but there were times that the weather didn’t cooperate like we would have hoped. So, activities would be planned indoors which were usually held in the lodge.

DSCN6677 Camp MacLean dining hall

Every time we filed in for a meal, we would stick two finger in the stone where two little finger holes were for good luck. The lodge itself created a cozy camp vibe that made everything seem warm and inviting. Especially during winter camp where we could finally defrost from the cold. The building holds many memories for me and I hope to see it again one day.


Lake Forest High School – Lake Forest, IL


I have very mixed feelings about high school as I’m sure many of us do. I was very lucky to have the opportunity to go to my high school. It is highly ranked and very competitive in most everything for a public school. The building itself is undoubtedly beautiful and full of top of the line technologies and innovations.


Over the years, my high school has undergone multiple renovations. One of which was completed just before I graduated middle school. One of the most obtrusive attributes of this remodel is what we called “the cube” or “the apple store”. It was apparently the “only way” to connect the styles that were already built.


From the inside, the addition is stunning but the outside is a whole different can of worms. Many pictures on google crop the new edition out. The addition served to create a safer, easier way to move around the school (in response to the Columbine shootings and others like it). It is used as a senior study hall and lunch commons.


The renovations included changing the old cafeteria into a two story library which is equally as stunning as the rest of the renovations. Even though I’d like to hide the new editions from the outside, they were well worth the design and upgrades on the inside.


East Lake Forest Train Station – Lake Forest, IL


The train system in Chicago is something that I took for granted growing up. Every day, my dad takes the train back and forth into the city. My dad is an electrical engineer. When I was younger, I thought that he was a train engineer because he took the train to work every day.


I never took notice of the train station until bringing a friend home with me from school. She was so amazed at the detail and thought that went into this building. I have spent a good amount of time sitting in the waiting room or waiting on the platform waiting for the train to take me into the city. The voice of the man on the intercom saying “Metra commuter, your attention please. The next in/outbound train will be arriving in your station in approximately (usually three) minutes.” It is a lot easier to take a day trip when you don’t have to worry about parking or paying for gas.


There is a barber shop and a shoe shine station inside of the train station that fits perfectly into the feeling of the train station. Although I have never used either service myself, the people watching is phenomenal.



Lake Forest Library – Lake Forest, IL


I was very fortunate growing up to have such an amazing library just a 15 minute walk from my house. With a huge children’s section with books, movies, games and even stuffed animals to check out.


As I grew older, I needed a place to study out of the house. My favorite place to go was to one of the many tiny nooks in the library. They offered privacy – to conceal the horrible sappy romance novel covers or to get away from almost all noise.


My favorite time to go to the library was when it was raining. The third floor of the library has a huge skylight that makes the most wonderful noise when it rains.


The building itself is well thought out and beautifully designed. The interior is luxurious and with fireplaces all over the place, it is a great place to warm up during the long winter months in Chicago.