Ado Chairs by Ko Verzuu from Holland, circa 1932

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wood, paint
3" x 3.14" x 2.5"

Courtesy of Etienne Feijns and MidMod Design 

Jacobus Johannes Josephus (Ko) Verzuu, (1901 – 1971) was a construction supervisor for the city of Utrecht, who was hired in 1925 to direct the ADO ("Arbeid door Onvolwaardigen" or “Work by the Handicapped”) program at the local sanitarium. This “work therapy” program took the form of toy workshop, employed recovering tuberculosis patients as woodworkers to regain their mobility and strength while completing the final stages of physical therapy. Verzuu’s pre-existing interest in art and architecture, particularly the De Stijl movement, greatly informed his approach, sensibility, and aesthetic as a toy designer. The countless objects he produced with ADO over the next 30 years challenged the practical and aesthetic limitations of toy design, also reflecting his interest in progressive forms of education, notably the work of educational theorist Maria Montessori.