he 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.
At the beginning of the nineteen-sixties, Artifort started to focus more on the international contract market. The English designer Geoffrey D. Harcourt designed an extensive collection of contract furniture. Internationally, the furniture seemed to be very much in demand, which resulted in enormous sales growth in a short time. Artifort extended its activities in the contract market even further by distributing furniture made by the Italian Castelli company, among others
Over the succeeding years, Artifort had to face increasing competition from foreign manufacturers. Once again, Artifort’s answer was innovation.
First came the house style. 1970 saw the introduction of the logo that is still in use today – as timeless as the brand itself.
Under the inspiring, creative leadership of Harry Wagemans, the company continued to attract young and established design talent. Nel Verschuuren, Bruno Ninaber van Eyben, Gijs Bakker and Jeremy Harvey – young designers at the time and well-established names today – came to work for Artifort. Pierre Paulin and Geoffrey Harcourt continued to add new furniture to the collection every year. The design of Artifort furniture continued to be distinctive but sadly Kho Liang Ie would no longer be there to witness this. He died at the age of 47 in 1975.
Artifort’s policy was continued in the 1990’s when the company worked with designers such as Jasper Morrison, Wolfgang Mezger, Rene Holtenand Jan Pesman. The result was celebrated furniture that entirely reflected the company’s philosophy and the values of the brand. Design, functionality and quality go hand in hand.