Spotlight on Dutch Mid-Century designer Cees Braakman

Spotlight on Dutch Mid-Century designer Cees Braakman

Cees Braakman 1917-1995 was born in Utrecht in The Netherlands and his father was head designer and manager for the locally based furniture makers Pastoe . Cees joined the company at 17 at a time when they were making traditional furniture . The factory was closed and destroyed in the 2nd World War . In 1947 he was sent to the USA to study their furniture industry and was obviously influenced by Charles and Ray Eames and Harry Bertoia .

Cees followed his father as chief designer and manager for Pastoe and in the early 1950s his designs in bent plywood were innovative and successful . He later designed some wirework chairs similar to those of Harry Bertoia which again must have been successful even though not ground-breaking .

In the late 1950s he came up with the lovely Japanese series mixing teak and black finished metal handles and legs . We recently sourced a lovely cocktail cabinet from this series . Pastoe furniture by Braakman is rarely seen in the UK as it probably wasn’t to British taste back in the late 1950s and early 1960s . This piece was sold to us as being Italian , but although it isn’t labelled there is no doubting that it’s definitely from the Japanese series as the designs is highly recognisable once you’ve seen it and unlike anything else of its era .

Some of his designs like those of his British contemporary Robin Day have a slightly industrial office feel to them , but so does Eames designs for Herman Miller .

In researching this piece we realised that we actually had another Pastoe piece designed by Braakman which was hidden in a dark corner in the warehouse ! It’s an ebonised folding magazine rack which is from a series of such racks with various cut out designs to one side .

Spotlight on Dutch Mid-Century designer Cees Braakman

Please note the BLACK CHAIR IS NOT a Cees Braakman design