With the presentation of the new furniture collection 2004, Artifort adds another year to the its long productive hystory that often coincided with creative events of the european and world furniture design.

The beginnings of Artifort goes back to the end of the nineteenth century, when Jules Wagemans developed the activity of upholster. Afterwards Henricus Wagemans, one of the sons of Jules, converted the small shop in a factory of furniture that will become well-known to national level.
The Artifort name reflected the principal characteristic of their products ( Arts - that marks a special attention to the design and aesthetic quality of the products -, Fort - that indicates how is importante the duration and to resist the time).

In the first years of activity, the items in the Artifort collection which had a more modern design were generally inspired by contemporary trends, such as the Amsterdam School, the Hague School, and the French Art Déco Style. In the 1930' special joint projects were regularly carried out: for the interior decoration of various hotels, restaurants and a large number of luxury liners. The development and execution of commissions of this kind resulted in the appointment of the skilled craftsman and furniture maker Theo Ruth, who is the head designer of every activity of the business.

The malt-house of the St. Servatius brewery on the Volksplein in Maastrich, was the first large dimensions store of Artifort, but not only. It was a large building that was used to house the various workshops and large exhibition areas, and with to pass some time, has come broadening. And in 1987, a number of rooms on the ground floor were opened too, bringing the showroom area up to a grand total of 4.500 square metres.

After World War II the Artifort collection became more and more modern under the impact of new ideas, materials and techniques.
In the fifties the collection included not only designs by Theo Ruth - like the easily dismantled armchair Congo realized in 1952 -, but also contemporary pieces of furniture by foreign designers and by the architect Gerrit Th. Rietveld - the only upholstered chairs in his oeuvre - were specially designed for the Dutch pavilion in the Expo '58 World Exhibition in Brussels.

Artifort's own design policy got under way with the appointment of the designer Kho Liang le as aesthetic advisor. His vision and international contacts overlapped with the ambitions of the director, Harry Wagemans, and were very important for the reputation and success of the company. The design policy was orientated towards the international market because the Dutch market was not large enough for a company which wanted to specialise in contemporary design products. And designer like Pierre Paulin and Geoffrey Harcourt, together to Kho Liang Ie, make some collection Artifort of the years '60 an international phenomenon of relief.

At first, beginning with Pierre Paulin, the designer developped a role of consolidation of the Artifort's reputation and success.
Born in Paris in 1927, Paulin belonged to a generation of lucky pioneers. Product design was an unknown territory. A world full of challenges as well as risks as there were no academies in his native France at the time; nor any interest from the side of the manufacturers. No chances for further development for the young Pierre Paulin. In 1958 Pierre Paulin joined the Artifort Design Group which gave him the opportunity to realize his sculptural vision of furniture; way too visionary for Paris at the time. In the Dutch enterprises he realized concretely - alone or with Geoffrey Harcourt - a number of seats of absolute value. Products able to conjugate large freedom and extreme formal cleanness, linearity and chromatic force. Models of intituive simplicity studied and creating interpreted from his next generation (in fact, is possible to find in many seats realized between the end of 50's and first 70's - Orange Slice, 444 Lounge Chair, Mushroom, Spider, Tulip, High-back Concorde, Tongue, Ribbon, F598 Chair - something of the expressive research of contemporary creators like Ross Lovergrove and Ron Arad or young author like Mark Robson).
In the 1960s, a number of Paulin's designs received awards and have been included in many museum collections, like the Museum of Modern Art of New York, the Museum Decorativy Arts of Paris, the National Gallery of Victory in Melbourne and the Östereichisches Kunst für angewandte Kunst of Viena. The carefully conceived functional seating systems and luxury desk armchairs by Geoffrey Harcourt are eminently suitable for interior decoration projects in offices, airports, conference centres and public areas. This international contract market became the mainstay of the company in the seventies.

Actually, Artifort continues the production of new models collaborating with designers from all over the world, and its collection has a clearly identity. And every year, Artifort presents a different collection that reflect its characteristic and internationally recognized style.

Today, in Artifort's production, the Pierre Paulin's soft and coloured sculptures represent a great creative peak but, anyway, in line with its past, the new collection 2004 (with also the 2003 productions by Michiel van der Kley - the seat Dive, the sofas Isobel and the table Sumo -, Bert van der Aa - the container Kast 01 - and Rene Holten - the sofas Mare and Ondo - in show to the recent Forniture Fair in Milan -, however offers solid examples of furniture of sober, rare elegance derived from the contribution of important designer like Patrick Norguet, Ashley Hall, Matthew Kavanagh and Khodi Feiz.

At the Furniture Fair in Milan 2004 Artifort presents:
the seats Little Apollo - dining room version and younger brother of the "big" Apollo, a 2002 production - and Boson - perfect chair for comfort and desing realized to optimize applied material to offer a new and plain seating system, minimizing the synthetic material to obtain an ideal balance between form and function. - both of them on project of Patrick Norguet;
the sofas Bono - a modern interpretation of the classic domestic box sofa with geometrical lines in harmony with its functionality planned from Ashley Hall and Matthew Kavanagh - and Lex - functional sofa of clear lines, essential of a minimalist design - created by Patrick Norguet;
unusual and innovative it is the proposal living 2004 of Extens - a new sideboard system covers a new construction concept based on advanced adhesive techniques to join aluminum corner- elements with wooden panels; this creating a unique image and strong structure - designed by Khodi Feiz.

Postbus 115
NL - 5480
AC Schijndel - Nederland


In cooperation with:
Maria Angeles
Fernandez Alvarez