Pastoe and Cees Braakman

The factory was set up in 1913 and it produced design furniture for exceptional clients almost from the beginning. In the 1920s it manufactured Amsetrdam School furniture. It was very modern at that time. Until the end of the war, Pastoe was a niche company geared towards small production. Everything changed when Cees Braakman, a 17-year-old son of one of the company managers, joined the company in 1945. In 1947 the company sent Braakman to the US to learn about the new post-war design. Herman Miller’s factory and designs by the Eames made the greatest impression on him. Their influence will be visible in another designs by Braakman. When he came back, Cees Braakman designed for Pastoe a few collections of very functional furniture for “regular people” with modern and simple lines. A revolutionary solution was, for example, modular furniture that can be combined and merged in any utility groups. The most popular design by Braakman is chair SM05 made of steel wire, designed in 1958. It was influenced by a steel chair designed by the Eames. The Braakman chair was considered to be an outstanding design achievement from the beginning, and its completely modern form did not become dated to the slightest extent, which is proven by the fact that the chair is manufactured in the Pastoe factory even today. Another remarkable Braakman’s achievement was a series of furniture U+N, also called a Japanese series due to an economical, geometric form and minimal ornamentation in the spirit of Zen. It was dedicated especially for small post-war apartments. Advertised as a combination of balanced proportions, clear lines and materials of highest qualities. The pieces of furniture from this series are the most sought after furniture even today and fetch the highest prices. The Pastoe furniture was displayed on such exhibitions as the Central Museum in Utrecht, Kunsthal in Rotterdam, and the R Gallery in New York. Cees Braakman had been the head of Pastoe designer team for 33 years, until 1978. The Pastoe factory operates today and is still considered to be a place where the furniture of highest quality, designed by the ablest artists, is produced.