Start of Gispen
W.H. Gispen (1890-1981) studied architecture at the Academy of Visual Arts and Technical Sciences in Rotterdam. Gispen was a man who was always sketching and drawing. He always had his drawing book with him. His hand could quickly sketch what he had in mind.
In 1916 W.H. Gispen are Kunstsmederij WH Gispen & Co in Rotterdam. He made beautiful ironwork, objects in expressionist and art nouveau styles. Beautiful vintage furniture.
In the 1920s, through encounters with influential modernists, Gispen’s business moved more and more towards mechanized production. From elegant Amsterdam School-like work with fences and lamps, his signature developed into pure, sober and businesslike. In the 1930s he made the armchair 412, with bakelite armrests. The design is now known as a design classic.
Tubular steel furniture was conceived in 1926 at the Bauhaus, Germany’s innovative art academy, with world-renowned teachers such as Marcel Breuer and Mies van der Rohe. Gispen liked to be influenced by the art and design movements of his time. Bauhaus, De Stijl. He was inspired by the work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Mart Stam.
Gispen’s successes in the 1920s were followed by difficult years. The Wall Street crash in 1929 and the Depression nearly bankrupted the company. Multiple patent lawsuits – most notably from Mart Stam and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe – further hindered the company’s growth in the 1930s. The Gispen company belonged to the Lips family. Gispen was fired in 1953 and founded Kembo (bankrupt in 2012). He was a teacher at the Royal Academy in The Hague.
50s and 60s
Gispen flourished in the 1950s and 1960s. The company was particularly successful with the minimalist designs of A. R. Cordemeyer and Wim Rietveld. Notable designs from the Gispen collection from the post-war period include the 1407 Armchair (1954) by Cordemeyer and Rietveld, Model 663 Storage System (1954) by Rietveld, Model Giso 4050 Lamp (1956) by Rietveld, 217 Chair (1957) van Rietveld and his father Gerrit Rietveld, 1262 Chair (1959) by Cordemeyer and 1637 Swivel Chair (1963) by Cordemeyer. Vintage design furniture.
Today the company is called Gispen International BV. Gispen furniture can be found in a number of museum collections. Such as the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Cooper Hewitt and MoMA in New York and the Wolfsonian in Miami.
Gispen is known for its classics. Designs such as 412, the Giso lamps and the President desk are examples of innovation, design and quality. Vintage dutch design.