A century of design
The foundations of Artifort were laid by Jules Wagemans when he set up business as an upholsterer in Maastricht in 1890. His son, Henricus Wagemans, expanded the company into a furniture factory, which had a showroom in Amsterdam by the end of the nineteen twenties and was already well known nationally.
The economic recession of the nineteen-thirties forced H. Wagemans & Van Tuinen, as the furniture company was then known, to create a distinctive profile. Developing a catchy brand name and logo was a start. And naturally the furniture had to be distinctive too. The emphasis came to lie on functionality, comfort and quality combined with aesthetically pleasing design and an innovative use of materials.
In 1928 the new brand name was introduced: Artifort, derived from the Latin word ‘ars’ meaning art or knowledge, and ‘fortis’ meaning strong or powerful. The word ‘comfort’ is also reflected in this brand name. Indestructible technique
Artifort’s breakthrough came at the beginning of the nineteen-thirties when the company started to use Epeda interior springing. Up until then, straw, horsehair and kapok has been used as filling materials, sometimes in combination with iron springing. Upholstering furniture with these materials was extremely labour-intensive. Epeda interior springing offered an attractive alternative and Artifort managed to acquire a licence to the Epeda patent. What was special about this interior springing, which was already being used in mattresses and car seats, was that it was woven from a single steel wire. Epeda interior springing combines a high level of comfort with great durability. Moreover, using this interior springing provided a major saving in production time.
A great deal changed with the arrival of the interior and furniture designer Kho Liang Ie. His forward-looking view, his great knowledge of design and his international contacts were not only determining ..