Military Series


The Dutch pavilion during the Cannes Film Festival by Sabine Marcelis.
Picture by Lothaire Hucki.

Sabine Marcelis in her Rotterdam Studio.

The Military Series was first used by Sabine Marcelis, in collaboration with EYE International, the Nederlands Film Fund, and Het Nieuwe Instituut, for the Dutch Pavilion during the Cannes FIlm Festival.

Sabine Marcelis created a Spatial Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow.
She used furniture designs by Gerrit Rietveld, Martin Visser and Radbout van Beekum.

The Pavilion was awarded the Special Jury Prize by a jury. In 1917, Theo van Doesburg published the first edition of De Stijl, a magazine that would launch an art movement that would become one of the most significant cultural legacies of the Netherlands in the modern era.

De Stijl was characterised by simple planes and geometric forms, clear primary colours, and graphic qualities of outline and pattern in a variety of scales, from magazines to architecture. In particular, the paintings by the artist Piet Mondriaan with red, blue and yellow, bounded by black lines and white space, defined what De Stijl meant for an international audience.

The Dutch pavilion during the Cannes Film Festival by Sabine Marcelis.
Picture by Lothaire Hucki.

100 Years after the invention of De Stijl, Studio Sabine Marcelis has reinterpreted Mondriaan’s iconic painting Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow (1935) as a three-dimensional experience. In this space, black lines become thin structural elements and rectangles of colour are extruded into volumetric forms. As in Mondriaan’s paintings, the black lines structure the empty white space with a unique rhythm, while the red, blue and yellow fields highlight points of focus to invest the space with meaning.

The Dutch pavilion during the Cannes Film Festival by Sabine Marcelis.
Picture by Lothaire Hucki.

Spatial Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow by Studio Sabine Marcelis was commissioned by EYE International and the Netherlands Film Fund in collaboration with Het Nieuwe Instituut, the Dutch institute for architecture, design and digital culture /

Yet Sabine Marcelis’ installation also reveals many evolutions in architecture, design, and film that have taken place in the last century. Her coloured prisms appear solid when seen from the front, but break down into transparent planes with gradients of colour when viewed from different angles. Marcelis’ signature resin casting technique shows the significance of craft and material experimentation in contemporary design, while hinting at the fragmentary and layered qualities of architecture and film at various points since the late 20th century. At the same time, her incorporation of new projection technology, as well as ambient projection of colour shadows through natural daylight, points to the renewed significance of the image in today’s screen-mediated culture. Marcelis revives the avant-garde spirit of De Stijl by dissolving the barriers between the creative fields of design, architecture, film art and experience, and proves that deep collaboration between these disciplines is the path to visual, technological, and cultural innovation in the present day.

Gerrit Rietveld
Picture courtesy of Rietveld by Rietveld

On the 100th anniversary of ‘De Stijl’ Rietveld Original and Lensvelt embarked on a unique collaboration: Lensvelt became the exclusive distributor of the Military Series by Gerrit Rietveld for the corporate market.

In 1923 he painted his iconic armchair in the primary colours red and blue en soon thereafter he built his famous Schroder house. In the same period Rietveld designed a series of furniture pieces for the Catholic Military Home (Katoliek Militair Tehuis) in Utrecht, using bolts and nuts to connect wooden elements rather than the traditional wooden dowel pins. Robust, strong and notable due to the use of cross beams and contrasting colours.

The collaboration between Rietveld Originals and Lensvelt has been celebrated on May 24th with a product presentation of the Military Series in the Lensvelt gallery on Herengracht 178 in Amsterdam.

Prior to the product presentation there was a symposium on Gerrit Rietveld, featuring 3 speakers: Professor Hans Beunderman, Jurjen Creman and Jessica van Geel.

They shone a light on Gerrit Rietveld – as a furniture maker, as a designer, and simply as a man. How did a carpenters son become the most famous architect and furniture designer of the Netherlands?

Professor Hans Beunderman in conversation with Wiet Hekking.
Swan Kwee Vogue the Netherlands, Marie-Claire Lambalk Kamer 465, Adri Vlasblom Independant Design Critic and Esther van der Heijden Kamer 465.

Titus Darley, Martine Eskes, Roby Boes en Hans Lensvelt.
Martine Eskes board member of the Foundation Copyright G. Th. Rietveld and Jessica van Geel.

Lensvelt Gallery Herengracht Amsterdam
Jurjen Creman

Lensvelt Gallery Herengracht Amsterdam with the Gerrit Rietveld installation by Kamer 465.

Pictures by Chantalle Laurent.