Pastoe. Creating furniture with dedication and expertise, since 1913“We are Pastoe. By looking at our furniture you can tell who we are. We stand for furniture without hodgepodge. We love to work with easy to read shapes and need-based functionality, which makes our designs timeless and genuine”. This company has been making furniture for over 100 years, all based out of a factory in Utrecht, Netherlands. German-Dutch businessman Frits Loeb (1889-1959) decided to produce chairs in a traditional cabinetmaking workshop to sell in his own shop. He called this company Utrechtsche Machinale Stoel-en Meubelfabrik (UMS) which quickly grew and moved into a large factory facility, manufacturing furniture for a range of retail outlets.While the initial furniture ranges were intended for a general audience, the company later changed direction to adopt an austere, minimal design using materials such as tubular steel and bent plywood. These designs and materials were radical for the time and rarely used, however, the new designer-manager D. L. Braakman wanted to take the company in a modern direction.A new modern directionThe Dutch were slow to respond to these designs but, in 1947, UMS dedicated their efforts to only produce modernist furniture. To reflect the new mission, the company changed its name to Pastoe. This new ‘passe partout’ principle was worked into the new brand name, PasToe, with which the company went on to gain a reputation as a manufacturer of quality modern furniture. In 1948, Cees Braakman followed in his father’s footsteps as director and designer furthering the company’s modernist aims, advocating for low-cost, modular designs inspired by the likes of Charles & Ray Eames and Alvar Aalto—the latter of which created the first series of Pastoe geometric cabinets at the end of the 1940s.During the 1950s, the company focused on developing flexible cabinet systems that could be assembled by the consumer, which led to the highly customisable, highly successful Made-to-Measure storage system (1955). In 1957, Made-to-Measure furniture was awarded a silver medal at the 11th Triennale in Milan and crowned with the Le Signe d’Or in Belgium.Pastoe TodayToday Pastoe continues to manufacture simple, high-quality furniture, including cabinet systems, storage pieces, chairs, et al. Many of Pastoe’s designs have attained an iconic status, such as Cees Braakman’s SMO5 Chair (1958), one of the first stools to be entirely fabricated in steel wire, and Studio Pastoe’s L-Series Cabinet (1979).Recent collaborations include projects with the Belgian designer Maarten Van Severen, German designer Konstantin Grcic, and Dutch studio Scholten & Baijings. All images courtesy of Pastoe“The storage of my life”“I have less and less stuff to carry around in life. I hardly use my briefcase because my phone storages all my info and it fits in my pocket. I make notes with my thumbs. At home stacks of paperwork are memories of a distant past. I consume books on an e-reader and my bills come by email. So why do I need a cabinet?“Well, for all the essential memories of my life. The china of my grandmother, the photographs of my children as they grew up. A signed copy of ‘For Whom The Bells Tolls’ and the contract for my first job as an independent advisor. I have composed the cabinet so it fits the style of my home. My style. The cabinet expresses who I am. It is the storage of my life.” Rudy Stroink, general manager PastoeThis understanding of our digital life is essential for companies such as Pastoe, as these changes quickly evolve their business. They can either grow or die with these changes. Pastoe’s understanding of this is what will keep them innovating and observing at how we live. Cabinets are no required for storage as much as they previously have been, so have become decorative objects. Our homes keep evolving, so companies need to evolve with us.“Pastoe has always remained faithful to the principle of modularity. The cabinet is not merely part of the wall; the wall actually blends into the cabinet too, by shadow effect. Pastoe furniture leaves room for individual taste to leave its mark, and thanks to its flexible design it can easily be combined with other styles and ranges. Our connection with the world of art has never been a distant one. In designing its furniture, Pastoe draws upon the craftsmanship of architects and artists, making use of their feel for shape, eye for detail and ability to play with light and space.“They think in terms of forms, volumes and colours, translating these into furnishings. The result of this process is furniture that is as functional as it is artistic: furniture as an object. As well as collaborating with architects and artists, our in-house Product Development department translates signals from the market into furniture that is aligned with Pastoe’s design vision.”Buy Vintage Pastoe furniture Buy Pastoe furniture in UK DanielHaving worked in design for the past decade, Daniel started ateliertally.com as a discussion of timeless, modernist product design. Trained as a graphic designer, he also has an avid interest in typography. You can follow him on Twitter @ateliertally.