Louis van Teeffelen


Aloysius (Louis) Allegonda van Teeffelen (1921-1972) was a Dutch industrial designer credited with contributing to the midcentury modern design movement in the Netherlands, and is most well-known for his work with the Dutch furniture manufacturer WéBé.

Biographical information on van Teeffelen is scarce but our editors have ascertained that he was born in in 1921 in the former municipality of Leeuwen, which is located in the province of Gelderland in the Netherlands. Sources state that van Teeffelen became Wébé’s head designer in 1955, but we have little knowledge on his educational background.

As head designer for Wébé, which was located in his hometown, van Teeffelen introduced a classic midcentury Scandinavian aesthetic (which has lead to many mistaking van Teeffelen for a Dane) and a number of popular designs to the Dutch market. Cabinets, desks and tables with anthropomorphic, “smiling” handles along with sculptural structures became van Teeffelen’s signature. His most well-known work is the Pelican Armchair (1960s)—characterized by its beautifully organic and teak form, it is a true Dutch design classic. Not to be confused with Danish designer Finn Juhl’s Pelican Chair (1939), van Teeffelen’s gracefully curved scissor-like legs calls to mind the legs of a pelican, while the arm rests mimic the bird’s beak.

His other work for Wébé includes the Cow Horn Chair (1950s); Scissor Chair (1950s); Easy Chair (circa 1960); an wide array of teak dining tables, coffee tables, sideboards, and desks; and various modular wall systems that feature teak shelves and cabinets. Many credenzas and small cabinets feature ceramic tiles decorating the doors, designed by Dutch ceramist Jaap Ravelli.

Van Teeffelen, who left the company in 1967, was the most significant and successful designer in WéBé’s history. Although WéBé is no longer in business, van Teeffelen’s designs are considered excellent examples of mid-century modern design and are highly sought-after by collectors today.

It is speculated that van Teeffelen also designed products—mainly his signature teak modular wall systems, secretaries and desks—for the Dutch furniture brand Topform around the same time he was designing for Wébé. Our editors are working hard to confirm this story.

Van Teeffelen passed away in his hometown in 1972, at the age of 51.