The genius simplicity of Gerrit Rietveld

In ‘The genius simplicity of Gerrit Rietveld’ we follow the architect’s trail through Utrecht with Bertus Mulder, who works on the restoration of Rietveld’s Verrijn-Stuarthouse.


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Gerrit Rietveld dreamed of the ideal home for ordinary people, houses in which daylight would freely pass through. Yet it were mainly the well-off who gave him assignments to build their second homes on the Loosdrecht lakes for example. Like the Verrijn-Stuarthouse in Brekelerveen that was build in the forties and was quite Spartan: no gas, water or electricity, only a open fire place.

 

Rietveld was known for his vision on functionality of buildings, which to him was more than just the functionality of things one uses in a house. The essence for him lay in merger with the environment. A building should contribute to its surroundings and be quite transparent. Moreover, the boundaries between inside and outside should be minimized.

 

Rietveld was born in Utrecht in 1888. When he was eleven, he started to help his father out with creating furniture. He hated the massive pieces of furniture he had to help produce. After lessons of Piet Klaarmaker, among others, Rietveld found his own style, which would became famous around the globe. His interpretation of the new way of building and furniture like his red and blue chair gave him his status.

 

In the film, Bertus Mulder works on the restoration of the Verrijn-Stuarthuis and he takes us on a tour through Utrechtm in the footsteps of Rietveld: his work place on the Oudegracht, the Rietveld-Schröderhuis on the Prins Hendriklaan, and other creations. Together, these scenes create an image of the wayward genius carpenter who became an architect, a creator of completely new forms and the inventor of new concepts of living.




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