|Gemeente Museum The Hague by Berlage|
Here is another desk, this time for a boardroom and with chairs. The picture on the wall shows one of the buildings that Berlage designed for the insurance company "De Nederlanden van 1845". The beautiful chairs are an indication of why Berlage is considered to be the harbinger of the new, emerging style, Art Deco.
Berlage was deeply interested in creating the perfect chair. His admiration for the chairs of ancient Egypt knew no bounds. He wrote a number of books on chairs and claimed that the Egyptians had never been surpassed. Here is one example of his own Egyptian style chairs.
Here is a design that Berlage made for the collected works of Louis Couperus. It is for the cover of Couperus' debut novel Eline Vera, a novel that, by coincidence, I happended to be reading at the time of my visit (and that I highly recommend).
Around 1904 and 1905 Berlage worked on a number of wallpaper designs, inspired by the prints of micro-organisms that had appeared in biologist Ernst Haeckel's Kunstformen der Natur. Berlage based his designs on microscopic patterns found in the natural world. In 1927 a number of these designs were printed by the company R and D (Rath and Doodeheefver), including this one.
Berlage was a towering figure in Dutch design, with convinced socialist, even utopian tendencies. He strongly believed in community art - creating art projects that would improve society and involve furniture makers, various craftspeople as well as architects. It is ironic therefore that his most famous building was the Amsterdam commodities stock exchange or Bourse.
|Beurs van Berlage Amsterdam, now a conference centre|