While researching the origins of the Red and Blue model in collaboration with the Rietveld heirs, it emerged that the key idea of the first prototypes was based on the concept of spatial organisation expressed through the monochrome tones of its elements. The first version was in fact produced in 1918 in completely unpainted wood.
In the following years Rietveld proposed various examples, either monochrome or painted in different colours, depending on the requirements of his customers and the interiors for which the chairs were intended. As such, it comes as no surprise to find this 1920s version, presented as part of Cassina’s MutAzioni selection, created for the school teacher Wicher Zeilmaker with a black frame with white ends and a dark green painted seat and backrest.
It was Rietveld’s ever-increasing involvement in the De Stijl movement that led him to also use primary colours on this model in 1923, and as such the chair became a veritable manifesto for the emerging neoplastic movement. Initially dubbed Slat chair, Rietveld only gave it the name Red and Blue in the 1950s following its chromatic evolution.
The various owners of the different examples used the chair as an abstract-realist sculpture in their interiors and, in some cases, as a simple tool for sitting on, adding cushions to make it more comfortable, just like Cassina offers for the Black Red and Blue today.