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Gelderland and Rob Parry

The factory was established in 1936 and manufactured very traditional furniture for dozens of years, combining oak wood and plaited raffia. A complete change in the company profile was implemented at the beginning of the 1950s, influenced by the dynamically developing Danish school. A project which started a new series of Gelderland products was the “4 in 1” chair, i.e. a piece of furniture which can be used for working, reading, resting and even taking an afternoon nap. However, the real revolution happened in the mid-1950s when a young designer, Rob Parry, joined the Gelderland factory. Parry was a student of, among others, Gerrit Rietveld; he practised in his workshop for several years. You can observe the influence of the great design master in many designs by Parry. In the years 1950-1995 Rob Parry designed complete interiors, furniture, exhibition layouts, toys, items for public use, etc. His most famous work is a double mailbox for which he was awarded a silver medal on Triennale Design in Milan in 1957. The mailbox went down to the history of design. It was present on the streets of Dutch cities and towns until 2006. Out of the tens of pieces of furniture designed by Rob Parry, the greatest fame and recognition gained armchair 1611 and sometime later a series of Lotus furniture. Armchair 1611 is a project from the 1950s which revolutionised the design of that time. Instead of the upholstery attached permanently to the frame structure, Parry proposed cushions with removable covers. This solution, so common and obvious today, achieved great success in the 1950s. The easy-to-clean cover was very important in that case. However, the success of the design comprised both of functionality and a wonderful and sophisticated form that definitely drew on the best traditions of functionalism. The Lotus series was a successor of the famous 1611 armchair. Parry kept the reliable and functional solution and added a modern combination of materials – metal, quality wood and homogeneous upholstery materials of good quality. Both 1611 and Lotus are pieces of furniture that are sought after by design enthusiasts even today.