Industrieel ontwerper W.H. Gispen (1890-1981): Een moderne eclecticus
W.H. Gispen: A Pioneer of Dutch Design
De Hef, 1998 (2de gewijzigde druk)
2 in stock
Willem Hendrik Gispen (1890–1981) was a Dutch industrial designer and entrepreneur.
After his teacher training, Gispen visited England several times, where he came into contact with the arts and crafts movement. In 1913 he applied to the Academy of Visual Arts and Technical Sciences in Rotterdam. In 1916, without finishing his studies, he started his own blacksmith shop W.H. Gispen & Co in Rotterdam, where he produced traditional arts and crafts with two employees. During his studies at the academy he had built up a network of architects, from whom he received many commissions, including Willem Kromhout, Henri Evers, Leendert van der Vlugt and Jan Verheul.
In the 1920s, Gispen became increasingly influenced by De Stijl’s design ideas and switched from artisanal to mechanical production. The Giso lamps designed and produced by him became a resounding success from 1926. He also started designing and producing tubular steel furniture for offices and homes. The breakthrough for this furniture came in 1929 when Gispen was commissioned to provide the Van Nelle factory with office furniture. He also supplied furniture for Huis Sonneveld and the steamship Nieuw Amsterdam. In the 1930s he designed, among other things, the Gispen 412 and 404 chairs. The move of the factory to Culemborg in 1934 meant further scaling up and technical innovation.
In 1953 Gispen was forced to turn his back on his own factory, due to disagreements with the shareholders. Willem Gispen started a new company with Ru Meijer with the ingenious name KEMBO (which stands for Come First Maar Bij Ons). A period began when he made some of his best designs. In 1954, a year after KEMBO was founded, the jury of the triennial design fair Triennale in Milan decided to award its Triennial 302 chair with a prestigious design prize. The designs that Gispen made for KEMBO at a later age, i.e. after 1953, are seen as his best pieces. In 2016, these chairs are still produced by the Amsterdam office furniture manufacturer Lensvelt.
Gispen stopped designing in 1960.