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Mart Stam


Mart Stam (born 5. August 1899 in Purmerend/Holland; died 23. Februar 1986 in Goldbach/Switzerland) was a Dutch architect and designer who played a pivotal role in the development of mid-20th century design and who is perhaps best remembered for developing the cantilever chair. After completing a qualification as a draftsman Stam spent three years working in a Rotterdam architectural practice before moving to Berlin and then Zurich where he worked with, amongst others, Karl Moser. From Zurich he travelled further over Paris back to Rotterdam where he helped build the Van Nelle factory. A decisive moment in Mart Stams career came through his contribution to the 1927 Weissenhof Estate, a process which not only brought him international attention, but also brought him into contact with illustrious contemporaries including Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius. In the same year Stam's designs for a tubular steel cantilever chair not only increased his reputation but also encouraged other designers to experiment with a similar strategy - which resulted in a copyright case between Stam and Marcel Breuer. In 1930, Stam was part of Ernst May's "May Brigade" of architects who travelled to Russia to build new cities - a project that was not as successful as the participants had hoped. In 1934, Stam returned to Rotterdam to work, and in 1939 was appointed Head of the Dutch Institute of Industrial Art. After the war Stam briefly returned to Germany to help with rebuilding before in 1966 he and his wife retired to Switzerland. Aside from building works such as the Reihenhaus in der Weißenhofsiedlung, Stuttgart or the Siedlung Hellerhof in Frankfurt Mart Stam is undoubtedly best known for his S 43 cantilever chair produced by Mart Stam.



More about 'Mart Stam' in our blog

The Early Years. Mart Stam, the Institute and the Collection of Industrial Design at the Werkbundarchiv - Museum der Dinge, Berlin

...In 1950 the Dutch architect and designer Mart Stam told a conference in Leipzig, "when I speak here for a group of individuals active in industry about the problem of industrial design, I do so because I believe that it is necessary for us to concern ourselves in detail with the question of industrial design, and also because I believe that through intensive work and cooperation in this field we can contribute to increasing the cultural quality of our goods... Mart Stam, the Institute and the Collection of Industrial Design the Werkbundarchiv - Museum der Dinge Berlin elucidate that Stam did more than simply speak about "the problem of industrial design" in the, then, fledgling East Germany, that Mart Stam wasn't the only person in 1950s East Germany interested in "increasing the cultural quality of our goods", if ideas about how one defined "increasing" and "cultural quality" varied greatly; and in doing so allows insights into the development of industrial design in East Germany...

5 New Architecture & Design Exhibitions for December 2020

...Mart Stam, the Institute and the Collection for Industrial Design" at the Werkbundarchiv – Museum der Dinge, Berlin, Germany On May 1st 1950 the Dutch architect Mart Stam took up the post of Rector of the Hochschule für angewandte Kunst in East Berlin, and thus an important position in both the post-War rebuilding of eastern Germany and also the development of the freshly established East German state... And a debate which thus very naturally set a Mart Stam at odds with the East German authorities...

smow Blog Design Calendar: September 22nd 1952 – Mart Stam suspended as Rector of the Hochschule für angewandte Kunst, Berlin

...An event such as Mart Stam's beurlauben, suspension, as Rector of the Hochschule für angewandte Kunst, Berlin, on September 22nd 1952... The unhappy end of Mart Stam's not altogether joyful sojourn in East Germany...

smow Blog Design Calendar: August 5th 1899 – Happy Birthday Mart Stam!

..."Wij hebben de nieuwe wereld te scheppen" wrote a, then, 19 year old Mart Stam in 1919... Following an initial training as a furniture constructor in Purmerend Mart Stam qualified as a draughting teacher at the Rijksnormaalschool voor Tekenonderwijzers, Amsterdam, and, in parallel, undertook a correspondence course in civil engineering at the Polytechnisch Bureau Nederland Arnhem,2 before beginning his architecture career in 1919 as a draughtsman in the offices of Granpré Molière, Verhagen en Kok in Rotterdam, where, and amongst other projects, he worked on the development of the Vreewijk garden village on the south-eastern edge of Rotterdam, and thus an early exposure to the new urban planning thinking of the period...

smow blog Design Calendar: June 1st 1932 - Mart Stam Awarded Artistic Copyright for the Cubic Cantilever Chair

...the strict, logical lines which avoid anything unnecessary and which with the sleekest form and through the simplest means embodies the modern objectivity"1, with this, glowing, description of his design the Supreme Court of the German Reich in Leipzig awarded on June 1st 1932 Mart Stam the artistic copyright of the cubic, quadratic, cantilever chair, and thus settled arguably the very first legal dispute over the copyright of the form of a piece of furniture intended for industrial mass production... Shortly before the sale of Standard-Möbel to Thonet Anton Lorenz registered patents for his own tubular steel chair designs and also secured the rights to all Mart Stam's cantilever chair designs: Stam having famously presented his first cantilever chair design as part of the 1927 Weissenhofsiedlung exhibition in Stuttgart, since when it had had no producer...


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