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$2,200 Gerrit Rietveld chair inspires $200 DIY kit

July 7, 2010 |  6:54 am


Visitors to Wave Hill, a New York public garden and arts center in the Bronx, can take in the scenery in the exceptionally comfy armchair above. The slat back and seat construction are reminiscent of Adirondack chairs and have an eye-catching architectural presence.

Picture 2It is inspired by the Red and Blue chair, right, designed by the Dutch modernist Gerrit Rietveld in 1918. This classic was reproduced in the 1970s, and a chair of that vintage is currently for sale at Pegaso Gallery International in Los Angeles for $2,200. New versions of the chair, still offered by the Italian firm Cassina, are $3,132.

The Wave Hill chair is a bit chunkier but a good deal less costly, especially if you're handy. It's sold as a kit -- pine pieces that screw together and are shipped flat-packed with assembly instructions. It costs $200, and shipping is $28.50 for ground transport or $183.26 for next-day delivery.

Feel at ease with a power saw? For $12.95, you can order the plans and build it yourself. The Wave Hill chair needs only square cuts, no miter joinery. The folks at Wave Hill estimate the cost of pine lumber at about $60. Figure more for redwood or other all-weather wood, and add at least half a day if you want to paint it in four colors a la Rietveld. 

-- David A. Keeps

UPDATED: Since this post went live, Wave Hill has alerted us that the chair has proved popular -- so popular, in fact, that the center can't guarantee that orders will be shipped before Oct. 15. Consider that one more reason to buy the plans ($10 plus $2.95 for shipping) and build the chair yourself.

Photo credits from top: David A. Keeps / For The Times; Pegaso Gallery