Willem Hendrik Gispen (7 December 1890, in Amsterdam – 10 May 1981, in The Hague) was a Dutch industrial designer, best known for his Giso lamps and serially produced functionalist steel-tube furniture. He studied design at the Academy for Visual Arts and Technical Science in Rotterdam (Academie van Beeldende Kunsten en Technische Wetenschappen) at the architecture department. He started in 1913, but left the Academy in 1915 partly due to the outbreak of the First World War. In April 1918 he married Anna C.J. Gisolf in Rotterdam. In 1916 he purchased a small smithy, which he would develop and extend to the well-known Gispen’s Factory for Metalwork (Gispen’s fabriek voor metaalbewerking n.v.). The success of the company was to a great extent based upon the qualities of Willem Hendrik Gispen as an industrial designer, designing many artistically en technically qualitative lamps and furniture. Many of these serial produced designs, like armchair no. 412, still belong to the highlights of Dutch design. With his Giso lamp-designs from the 1920s and 1930s he was a part of the international avant-garde interested in light innovations. The same can be said of his steel-tube chairs and furniture, with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Mart Stam and Gerrit Rietveld among his inspirations. In 1949 W.H. Gispen left the firm, after which he worked for other furniture manufactories like Kembo. In 1981 the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam organized the first exposition about W.H. Gispen, dedicated to his lamp-designs from the years 1916-1949. It was the same year W.H. Gispen died on the 10th of May.
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Gispen was a member of the Amsterdam School.
Artist, Architect, Furniture Designer, Industrial Designer, Painter
Willem Hendrik Gispen, W. H. Gispen
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