The strength of Pastoe
Simplicity, timelessness, quality and craftsmanship have all been at the centre of Pastoe's philosophy for nigh on a hundred years now. Since the company was founded in 1913, Pastoe has been making furniture of unruffled, austere design all these years. The secret is in the simplicity: our furniture is restrained and understated enough that one never grows weary of it. They are comforting and reassuring to look at, as if they have been sitting there for years. Because products need to be more than their outward appearance: they need character; you should be able to love them, to form an attachment with them.
Quality and craftsmanship
The collection is the result of many years of experience in developing and manufacturing quality furniture: quality that we invest in afresh every day. We are continuously searching for ways to refine our techniques and add functionality. We keep going just as long as we need to in order achieve the desired result. The smallest details are significant - such as a screw or the shape of a hinge being visible - when it comes to improving visual and material sustainability. Striving for perfection is part and parcel of Pastoe's tradition and will always remain so.
Pastoe furniture is made at our Utrecht factory, with close attention paid to traditional craftsmanship and quality. Our furnituremakers take great care to ensure aesthetic and functional sustainability. To ensure the best possible results, a great deal of our manufacturing is still undertaken by hand. A dignified Pastoe piece is created with dedication and expertise.
Furniture makers since 1913
It was in 1913 that entrepreneur Frits Loeb (1889-1959) decided to start making his own chairs in a small-scale traditional joinery, to sell at his shop at the Ganzenmarkt in Utrecht. This factory, UMS - the Utrechtsche Machinale Stoel- en Meubelfabriek - rapidly expanded into what by Dutch standards was a large operation. The factory moved to the Rotsoord, an old industrial lane in Utrecht, in 1918, and has remained at that location ever since.
Since the 1950s, Pastoe has distinguished itself as a company able to renew itself thoroughly. While director-designer Cees Braakman was at the helm, the company moved on from old-fashioned thinking in terms of fixed ranges of furniture. It was storage units that were to become the cornerstone of our collection. Our oak (1948) and birch (1950) ranges were based on Cubist-style cabinets and could be connected with each other. This was accessible, flexible furniture for compact Dutch apartments. The passe-partout principle was worked into our new brand name, PasToe.
Pastoe became the first brand in the Netherlands to bring modular cabinet systems to the market. Our system of corner intersections in made-to-measure furniture, introduced in 1955, was revolutionary abroad as well as at home: shelves and other components could be mounted on these in four directions. The consumer could put together his own cabinet, with the option of extending it later on.
In 1965, the combination concept was further extended with the 125M range, which allowed separate components to be connected into a single wall unit covering a whole wall.
Besides these developments, Pastoe continued to make contemporary cabinets, such as the geometric U+N cabinet - whose front was made up of various kinds of wood and lacquer - and the Pastoe Cabinet in 1967, based on the principle of stacking up individual elements into a greater whole.
In the realm of communication, too, the company was continuously seeking renewal: well-known designers including Dick Bruna, Benno Premsela and Otto Treurman, and photographers such as Ed van der Elsken, Paul Huf and Jan Versnel, contributed to the development of posters, advertisements and other promotional material.
Furniture as an object
Pastoe has always remained faithful to the principle of modularity. Our current range of cabinets lend themselves to use as sideboards, TV furniture or even figurative works of art. 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.
In 1982, Pastoe took the initiative of setting up Toonkamer - a showroom where leading firms could present their collections in the interior and design realm.
Together with a few other progressive Dutch furniture makers, Pastoe participates in the DDC Initiative, a permanent forum for discussion and exchange of knowledge in contemporary architecture and design. Pastoe is also involved in organising the Utrecht Manifest international biennale, a podium held every other year for design in society, held at various venues around the city of Utrecht. Utrecht Manifest poses questions about the current social role of the design industry, the culture sector and designers.
Should Pastoe choose to relocate its production in future, then there are plans to transform the current factory premises into a cultural centre - an inspiring rendezvous founded on the virtues of quality and sustainability. Very much in the spirit of Pastoe.