by Willem Hendrik Gispen
Armchair number 412 is Gispen’s best sold product. Since the first production in 1934, some changes have been made to the most famous chair in the collection of Gispen. The design was innovative because, previously, most furniture was made from wood. The chair was controversial in the era of functionalism. Critics were of the opinion that the back rest was too elegant and the armrest too decorative. Gispen did not agree. He thought that the most important aspect of a chair was that is was comfortable, which is why he designed the ergonomically shaped backrest.
The 412’s original design had a separate seat-cushion on canvas support straps. Three years later, these straps are no longer suspended from the tubes, but has been replaced with a different seat-cushion support system. This construction has the same kind of upholstery as the cushion, which makes it less noticeable. The measurements of the chair also changes after this. The chair became longer and wider over the years. Between 1948 and 1955, the chair was temporarily padded. After 1955, Gispen returned to the original vertical stitched seams, although one less than in the original design.
The Gispen 412 is a springy armchair without hind legs. The frame consists of two separate parts, made from manually bent, chromium-plated tubes. The chair is fitted with fixed upholstery and characteristic bakelite armrests, which gently fold upwards at the back. Gispen was the first furniture designer who used bakelite for furniture!
The chair is, due to its sitting comfort, not only a success in meeting rooms and hotels, but it is also a much loved addition to the living room. The chair is still part of the Dutch Originals collection. It is available in different coloured and kinds of upholstery and with authentic springs in the seat or with high resilience foam.