The foundations of Artifort were laid by Jules Wagemans when he set up business as an upholsterer in Masstricht in 1890. The economic recession of the nineteen-thirties forced the furniture company, then known as H. Wagemans & Van Tuinen, to create a distinctive profile.
In 1982 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. 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.
Geoffrey D. Harcourt (1935) trained at the Royal College of Art in London. In 1962, he designed his first series of small office fauteuils for Artifort. His designs introduced Artifort to the international market for contract design. In the beginning, Harcourt designed mostly seats for reception areas. His first design for Artifort, the 042 series in 1963, was an immediate international success. His philosophy is that the chair should focus on the person and not the other way around. “First the person, then the chair.” Harcourt has won many prizes and in 1978 was awarded the title of “Royal Designer for Industry”.