A. R. Cordemeyer


Born in 1924 in Bussum, Holland, André Robert (A. R.) Cordemeyer was a prolific Dutch industrial designer active in the 1950s and ‘60s, working chiefly for manufacturing brand Gispen. Limited verifiable information, however, is available about him today—particularly because some biographical facts about Cordemeyer have become conflated with those of his contemporary, Dutch designer Dick Cordemeijer, who designed the famous Cleopatra Daybed (1954) for Auping.

It’s believed that Cordemeyer began his career as an engineer within a chimney factory in Castrium, following mechanical engineering studies at the Technical College in Amsterdam. Though it’s not clear when Cordemeyer shifted his focus to industrial design, he began to work for Gispen sometime around 1954. At this time, W. H. Gispen had resigned from his position as head designer, and Wim Rietveld, son of Gerrit Rietveld, was already designing for the company. During their tenures at Gispen, the younger Rietveld and Cordemeyer both developed pared down, functionalist designs—often working in collaboration—with a focus on practical, affordable furniture for office interiors. 

The collaboration between Cordemeyer and Rietveld at Gispen was particularly successful in the 1407 Armchair (1954) and the 416 Easy Chair (1956)—both of which are highly sought-after on the vintage market today. Cordemeyer’s noteworthy solo designs for Gispen include the modular and colorful 5600 Storage System (1959); the molded plywood 1262 Chair (1959); the glass-topped 3637 Table (1959); the slimly upholstered 1409 and 1410 Armchairs (1959); the classic 1637 Swivel Chair (1963); and the molded plastic 2200 Seating Series (1967). Under Cordemeyer's design direction, Gispen also found great success with the 7800 Kleurodesks (1958), a series of lacquered steel desks with linoleum-clad tops that were a bestseller well into the 1960s.

Cordemeyer is credited with convincing Gispen to introduce polypropylene into its production sometime around 1956. As a result, Gispen was the first Dutch manufacturer to industrially produce plastic furniture.

Around 1957 or ’58, Rietveld left Gispen to pursue other projects, but Cordemeyer stayed on until sometime in the 1970s, when he took on engineering work for wind energy projects. During his career, Cordemeyer always sought to incorporate new production techniques and materials into his designs in order to propose the most efficient products for the postwar Dutch population.