Art & comfort ... is what the world-famous brand Artifort stands for. And for timeless design. Design that endures. Design that is authoritative. From Pierre Paulin and Geoffrey Harcourt to René Holten and Patrick Norguet. Design for sitting, waiting, meeting, storing and discussing. It’s no accident that our delightful, exclusive furniture features in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Centre Pompidou. Artifort means top-quality design by top designers. For the home, office, boardroom or lobby. In the Artifort collection, everyone who attaches importance to form and function will find a design that captures their heart.
Artifort stands for furniture that lasts a lifetime. In many cases it passes down through generations. The secret lies in the use of high quality materials and in our skilled employees. The craftsmanship of our upholsterers, welders, woodworkers and seamstresses is at a high level through years of experience and in-house training of our younger employees. Our production is both industrial and small-scale. Many young designers come to Schijndel to test their ideas and are amazed at the technical possibilities , just like Pierre Paulin when he produced his first bucket chair at Artifort in 1959.
Artifort has invested a great deal in its production facility in recent years. We believe in sustainability and in designer furniture that lasts for generations. The quality of our chairs and sofas is so good, you can have them reupholstered ten or twenty years later. We replace the seats and cushions with sustainable produced alternatives. It's a total refit. Once the chair has been reupholstered, it looks as new and becomes a real eye-catcher. When you see how a Ribbon is upholstered, you believe in quality. The construction of a Ribbon is pulled apart and rebuilt in steps with foam and rubber at the right pressure. The love for shape and beauty is what Artifort is all about.
Artifort: 125 years of design
The foundations of Artifort were laid by Jules Wagemans when he set up business as an upholsterer in Maastricht in 1890. His son, Henricus Wagemans, expanded the company into a furniture factory, which had a showroom in Amsterdam by the end of the nineteen twenties and was already well known nationally. Developing a catchy brand name and logo was a start. And naturally the furniture had to be distinctive too. The emphasis came to lie on functionality, comfort and quality combined with aesthetically pleasing design and an innovative use of materials. In 1928 the new brand name was introduced: Artifort, derived from the Latin word ‘ars’ meaning art or knowledge, and ‘fortis’ meaning strong or powerful. The word ‘comfort’ is also reflected in this brand name.
Artifort’s breakthrough came at the beginning of the nineteen-thirties when the company started to use Epeda interior springing. Up until then, straw, horsehair and kapok has been used as filling materials, sometimes in combination with iron springing. Upholstering furniture with these materials was extremely labour-intensive. Epeda interior springing offered an attractive alternative and Artifort managed to acquire a licence to the Epeda patent. What was special about this interior springing, which was already being used in mattresses and car seats, was that it was woven from a single steel wire. Epeda interior springing combines a high level of comfort with great durability. Moreover, using this interior springing provided a major saving in production time.
A great deal changed with the arrival of the interior and furniture designer Kho Liang Ie. His forward-looking view, his great knowledge of design and his international contacts were not only determining factors in the successes of the nineteen-sixties and seventies but have continued to exert their influence up to this day. Artifort and Kho Liang Ie introduced talked-about designs and together ensured that the name Artifort became a runaway success internationally, both with architects and lovers of design. In 1959, Kho Liang Ie recruited the French designer Pierre Paulin, who introduced new techniques and constructions. He also designed a new logo for Artifort with Harry Sierman.
Artifort started to work with foamcovered metal tube frames and stretch fabrics. In 1967 Paulin met Jack Lenor Larsen and together they formed a golden duo. In fact they changed the way in which the world viewed design, in terms of form, materials and textiles. Now, forty years later, Artifort has resumed production of the fabric Momentum exclusively for Paulin’s designs. At the beginning of the nineteen-sixties, Artifort started to focus more on the international contract market.
Under the inspiring, creative leadership of Harry Wagemans, the company continued to attract young and established design talent. Nel Verschuuren, Bruno Ninaber van Eyben, Gijs Bakker and Jeremy Harvey – young designers at the time and well-established names today – came to work for Artifort. Pierre Paulin and Geoffrey Harcourt continued to add new furniture to the collection every year.