Gerrit Rietveld [The Remix]
Anonymous design collective D-W-A redesigns the Red Blue Chair using classical and dub music as inspiration
Founded in 2009, D-W-A is a design collective inspired by the music world's remix culture. "We wanted to express our love of music in the work we design." D-W-A member The DZA (anyone get the feeling he's based his name on Wu-Tang Clan's RZA?) tells Phaidon. "We want to redesign, sample, cover, collaborate and critique the design industry. Drawing upon how dub, hip hop and electronica revolutionised the music industry as our motivation."
Acting like an old school record label, D-W-A has artists all over the world - each a real world designer who wishes to remain anonymous while he or she adapts their character or creates an entirely new persona to release their designs.
The DZA himself has 'remixed' a revolutionary Dutch design classic originally created by Gerrit Rietveld in 1918, Red Blue Chair. "When I was a teenager one of my friends had a Red Blue Chair at his folk's house. This was the first time I was ever in awe of an object. I loved it and always sat in it," he says. "Reitveld is my favourite designer, both technically and idealistically, and I often look to him when I am having trouble getting inspired."
Four new 'remixes' have been produced, based around a 12" vinyl single release. At 1:3 scale RnB IKEA, RnB Classical, RnB Extended Edition and RnB King Tubby [Dub Version] are each modelled to around 12" in size.
"RnB IKEA, was inspired by pop music, which I don’t really have much time for," The DZA tells Phaidon. "In the design world there isn’t anything as popular as IKEA products. With this in mind I made a flat pack version of the chair that can be made at home by the user. Reitveld advertised his Crate furniture as flat pack weekend furniture back in the 1930’s, so I’d think he’d approve."
With RnB Classical The DZA says the company wanted to produce a 'remix' that would have the craft aesthetic of fine furniture. "I used birch and walnut and the natural finish preserves the colour of the wood. Before Red Blue Chair was painted in the De Stijl colours in 1924 for the Schröder House it was made in clear finished beech and single colours - black and white. So RnB Classical is also a reference to the original design from 1918."
Using bass-heavy dub - The DZA's favourite kind of music - as inspiration, RnB King Tubby [Dub Version] uses heavier battens and armrests, a wider seat and back and a deeper back rest angle "and of course it is painted in the Rasta colours," The DZA says. "King Tubby is the true king, a key figure in the creation of the dub genre in Jamaica during the 1960’s and 70’s. Some say he’s the man behind the remix concept. Dub music started as instrumental versions of reggae songs on the B-sides. Then the magic started when they started playing with the components and their relationships - remixing."
As with any remix, there is always discussion on whether it adds to the original. Some might say a design classic has been ruined and that it is sacrilege to attempt such a thing. "I’d say they misunderstand the project," The DZA counters "This is an homage to one of the most influential and revolutionary designers of the 20th century."