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Cees Braakman: Aesthetically Functional

Dutch designer Cees Braakman (1917-1995), born in Utrecht is best known for the strong influence he had on furniture design in the Netherlands. Beginning his career at the age of 17, he began working for the furniture manufacturer UMS Pastoe. At the time, his father was the company’s head draftsman and manager. Inspired by the work coming from the Herman Miller Company by Charles and Ray Eames, and by their technical approach to design. Braakman came to the United States to learn more about the process, eventually heading back to his country eager to work with a new material, bent plywood.

While at Pastoe, Cees Braakman developed several lines of popular furniture, clean, elegant lines and a wonderful sense of proportion highlighted his work. Braakman placed particular attention on his modular storage solutions, launching in 1955, these Made-to-Measure cabinets, constructed of a variety of woods, some of which were to be assembled by the end-user, earned him a silver medal at the 1957 Triennale in Milan. He would eventually follow in his father’s footsteps, taking on the role of manager at Pastoe until 1978.              

Mid-Century Chair c.1950s, Model FM08 for Pastoe, boasts a shell covered in black vinyl, perfectly perched over four elegant, yet spider-like black steel legs. With comfort in mind, Braakman added two loose cushions to the design.

Classic cabinet from his “Japanese Series,” manufactured by Pastoe in the 1960s. The cabinet is made of teak, with one white laminated door on a black steel base. The black inset handles make a strong design statement and are a highly recognizable element from this series.

Cees Braakman 3 seater sofa

A beautiful 3-seater sofa, again manufactured by Pastoe as part of Braakman’s “Japanese Series.” Its minimalist design is typical for Dutch mid-century design. The armrests jut out from the side of the piece in a commanding fashion.

This unique Cees Braakman trolley, c.1950s for Pastoe, showcases his ability to blend geometry with functionality. With brass and leather details, the trolley sits atop two circular teak wheels.

A fine example of Braakman’s design sense, blending modular storage with a functional worktop. This desk for Pastoe, has a bright yellow cubby with hairpin legs in a unique asymmetric design.

Cees Braakman magazine rack

Part magazine rack part table, the TM05 showcases Braakman’s ability to design aesthetically appealing, yet truly functional furniture pieces. A black lacquered frame, bent steel and birch plywood turn humble materials in to something simply stunning.

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