Gerrit Thomas Rietveld (1888-1964) was a Dutch furniture designer and architect. One of the principal members of the Dutch artistic movement called De Stijl, Rietveld is famous for his Red and Blue Chair and for the Rietveld Schröder House, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Rietveld was born in Utrecht. He opened his own furniture workshop in 1917, Rietveld had taught himself drawing, painting and model-making. He afterwards set up in business as a cabinet-maker.
Rietveld designed his Red and Blue Chair in 1917 which has become an iconic piece of modern furniture. Hoping that much of his furniture would eventually be mass-produced rather than handcrafted, Rietveld aimed for simplicity in construction. In 1918, he started his own furniture factory, and changed the chair's colours after becoming influenced by the De Stijl movement, of which he became a member in 1919, the same year in which he became an architect. The contacts that he made at De Stijl gave him the opportunity to exhibit abroad as well. In 1923, Walter Gropius invited Rietveld to exhibit at the Bauhaus. He built, the Rietveld Schröder House, in 1924, in close collaboration with the owner Truus Schröder-Schräder.
Rietveld broke with De Stijl in 1928 and became associated with a more functionalist style of architecture, known as either Nieuwe Zakelijkheid or Nieuwe Bouwen. Rietveld designed the Zig-Zag Chair in 1934 and started the design of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, which was finished after his death. In 1951 Rietveld designed a retrospective exhibition about De Stijl which was held in Amsterdam, Venice and New York. Interest in his work revived as a result. In subsequent years he was given many commissions, including the Dutch pavilion for the Venice Biennale (1953), the art academies in Amsterdam and Arnhem, and the press room for the UNESCO building in Paris. In 1961 Rietveld set up a partnership with the architects Johan van Dillen and J. van Tricht, they built hundreds of homes, many of them in the city of Utrecht.