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Richard Hutten at the Sonneveld House

Contemporary Dutch design meets 1930s Modernism

The Iconic Houses Network recently launched a webspecial of The Sonneveld House Museum in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Built in 1933 by the architecture firm of Brinkman and Van der Vlugt, the Sonneveld House is one of the best preserved houses in the Nieuwe Bouwen style. The webspecial features a contemporary photographic essay, as well as a fair amount of photos and drawings from the archives of the architects and the Sonneveld family.

The launch of the Sonneveld House Museum special, coincides with a project that aimes to enrich the interior with design, personal objects and applied arts, adding more atmosphere and character to the house. As part of this, Rotterdam based designer Richard Hutten was invited to respond to the interior of the house with his own designs.

In the 1930s, architecture firm Brinkman & Van der Vlugt, famous for their Van Nelle Factory and Feyenoord football stadium, applied the most modern materials and styles for the house and its interior design. Tubular steel furniture by Gispen, carpets by Metz & Co. and Linoleum by Forbo in Krommenie were hypermodern back then. Key words to describe the exceptionally colourful interior are hygiene, comfort and luxury. Primary colours were largely avoided in preference to soft shades and earthy colours. Each room exuded an ambience all of its own thanks to its specific colour scheme.

The interior of the house is now adorned with personal objects belonging to the Sonneveld family, as well as highlights of Dutch design from the 1920s and 1930s. The showpiece is an almost complete yellow pressed glass breakfast service designed by Piet Zwart and H.P. Berlage in 1924. In addition, several vases and glassware on loan from the National Glass Museum in Leerdam found a place in the house.

As a guest curator, Richard Hutten respects the original interior while at the same time inserting examples of his own work or making almost invisible alterations to the interior. Richard Hutten (1967) has been one of the leading designers in the Netherlands for over twenty years. For some years now he has been creative director of Gispen, the furniture manufacturer that was so closely involved in the interior of the Sonneveld House back in the 1930s.

The installation of Richard Hutten at the Sonneveld House is on show untill 11 May 2014.

Sonneveld House Balcony, with ‘Rhino’ chairs and objects designed by Richard Hutten.

Sonneveld House, J.A. Brinkman and L.C. van der Vlugt, Rotterdam, 1929-1933.

Sonneveld House Garden. 'Table that rises from the grass'. Design by Richard Hutten.

Sonneveld House Studio with ‘3 minus 1 Bureau’ by design of Richard Hutten.

Library Sonneveld House, J.A. Brinkman and L.C. van der Vlugt, Rotterdam, 1929-1933.

Sonneveld House Living room, with carpet/installation ‘Playing with tradition’, by Richard Hutten.

Bedroom Sonneveld House, J.A. Brinkman and L.C. van der Vlugt, Rotterdam, 1929-1933.

Sonneveld House Kitchen. Chair ‘Zuiderzeestoel’ designed by Richard Hutten. Styling by San Ming.

Sonneveld House Kitchen. Tea-towel by Richard Hutten. Styling by San Ming.

Hallway Sonneveld House, J.A. Brinkman and L.C. van der Vlugt, Rotterdam, 1929-1933.

Sonneveld House Dining room. Cupboard with glassware by design of A. D. Copier, and a ‘Domoor’ mug designed by Richard Hutten.

Sonneveld House, J.A. Brinkman and L.C. van der Vlugt, Rotterdam, 1929-1933.

Photos: Johannes Schwartz