100 years Pastoe

28 Feb 2013
  • posted by Veerle Pieters

I traveled to Rotterdam last weekend to catch the opening of a remarkable exhibition that celebrates a birthday that is as old as the Tour of Flanders or the Tour de France. I'm talking 100 years of existence! There aren't many companies that last that long, especially in the furniture business. It all started On 13 April 1913, a small traditional firm called the 'Utrechtse Machinale Stoelen Meubelfabriek' opened its doors in Utrecht, the fourth largest city in The Netherlands.

pastoe posters

Simplicity, timelessness, quality and craftsmanship

Over the years this Dutch factory has evolved to what is now known as the iconic furniture label Pastoe. The name comes from the 'passe-partout' principle and became internationally known for their simplicity, timelessness, quality and craftsmanship. These elements have helped the brand develop into the innovative and internationally recognized designers’ interior label that it is today. Pastoe still has its own factory and is known for its tradition of progressively seeking cooperation with renowned designers and architects. Over the years they worked with Maarten Van Severen, Vincent van Duysen, Shigeru Uchida and Scholten & Baijings. One of the most famous items they have is the SM05 wire chair by Cees Braakman from 1958. The Totem by Vincent van Duysen is my personal favorite.

SM05 chair

Like Pastoe, 100 years of design innovation

To celebrate Pastoe’s 100th anniversary, the Kunsthal in Rotterdam is presenting a comprehensive exhibition titled ‘Like Pastoe, 100 years of design innovation’ from the 23rd of February 2013 until the 2nd of June 2013. I was at the opening & enjoyed looking at the old advertising, catalogs, photographs & the furniture. I've got to see the iconic designs from the company’s history, as well as its contemporary products and new ideas they are thinking about.

The exhibition has been organized around the following themes: ARCHIVES, ENVIRONMENTS and VISIONS. In the ARCHIVES theme, Krijn de Koning presents the history of Pastoe using exceptional designs, advertising material, sketches, photographs and trade fair presentations. Within the ENVIRONMENTS section, Anne Holtrop projects Pastoe's vision on the architectonic space. The exhibition's installations represent an environment in which living, working, learning and creating are defined in a new way. VISIONS highlights the search for new perspectives on product development and includes work by various designers such as Naoto Fukasawa, Claudio Silvestrin and Scheltens & Abbenes.

The English celebration will be presented in Milan during the Salone del Mobile on Pastoe’s actual anniversary day, the 13th of April 2013.