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Mart Stam

Mart Stam (born 5. August 1899 in Purmerend/Holland; died 23. Februar 1986 in Goldbach/Switzerland) was a Dutch architect and designer who played a pivotal role in the development of mid-20th century design and who is perhaps best remembered for developing the cantilever chair. After completing a qualification as a draftsman Stam spent three years working in a Rotterdam architectural practice before moving to Berlin and then Zurich where he worked with, amongst others, Karl Moser. From Zurich he travelled further over Paris back to Rotterdam where he helped build the Van Nelle factory. A decisive moment in Mart Stams career came through his contribution to the 1927 Weissenhof Estate, a process which not only brought him international attention, but also brought him into contact with illustrious contemporaries including Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe, Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius. In the same year Stam’s designs for a tubular steel cantilever chair not only increased his reputation but also encouraged other designers to experiment with a similar strategy – which resulted in a copyright case between Stam and Marcel Breuer. In 1930, Stam was part of Ernst May’s “May Brigade” of architects who travelled to Russia to build new cities – a project that was not as successful as the participants had hoped. In 1934, Stam returned to Rotterdam to work, and in 1939 was appointed Head of the Dutch Institute of Industrial Art. After the war Stam briefly returned to Germany to help with rebuilding before in 1966 he and his wife retired to Switzerland. Aside from building works such as the Reihenhaus in der Weißenhofsiedlung, Stuttgart or the Siedlung Hellerhof in Frankfurt Mart Stam is undoubtedly best known for his S 43 cantilever chair produced by Mart Stam.