Interior Design Tours the New Knoll New York ShowroomMidtown New York Location Features New Workplace Planning Models Alongside Knoll Classics and New Designs by OMA and David Adjaye
September 30, 2013
Interior Design magazine tours the Knoll New York offices and highlights the layout, furniture, and color and material palette of the space in the September 2013 issue.
The New York Showroom and offices, designed by ARO, opened in May 2013 in "a tower around the corner from MoMA," notes Interior Design writer Fred A. Bernstein.
The new location also includes the first Knoll retail store on the ground level, directly above the showroom. The Knoll Shop is the first home design shop in the company’s 75-year history.
Together, the Knoll Shop, showroom, and two levels of offices occupy four floors "that seem suspended over the avenue," observes Bernstein.
Seen from the outside, "the 42,000-square-foot ensemble is a block-long advertisement—courtesy of Architecture Research Office, which draped all the windows with open-weave fabric in the 'Knoll red' that Massimo Vignelli chose and named for the company in 1967," Bernstein writes.
The materials -- from wood to felt and leather to textiles -- we're purposefully and thoughtfully selected by ARO, a "design firm known for its pioneering approach to materials."
ARO used Knoll products, including those of divisions FilzFelt and Spinneybeck, in "ways that would ignite customers' imagination."
The showrooms’ two staircases are a focal points on each floor. ARO principals Kim Yao and Stephen Cassell linked the showroom and office levels with narrow steel staircases, then wrapped the lower one in FilzFelt’s red wool felt and the upper one in Spinneybeck’s brown leather."
The new midtown Manhattan location showcases Knoll furniture and planning solutions in a number of environments. "From the conventionally corporate, built out with plasterboard, to rawer spaces, with beams and pipes exposed – the showroom offers a solution for virtually any office design."
Bernstein continues, “To maintain continuity through the variety of settings, ARO repeated some materials, such as dark-stained end-grain oak for flooring, on all levels."
“The second level clearly announces itself as a showroom starting in the elevator lobby where supergraphics, light boxes, and illuminated niches display Knoll images, documents, and objects in a timeline from 1938 to 2013," notes Bernstein.
The showroom features furniture groups with low horizons “in order not to sacrifice the openness.” Some sections are "almost residential in character, with wool felt rugs and silk wall panels demonstrating how to create a “homey” office.”
Open plan offices on the third level showcase the range of Antenna® Workspaces planning models. Activity Spaces, including small touch down rooms and meeting areas, provide privacy in the office. “Some are lined, for both acoustical and aesthetic purposes, with corrugated felt that looks like oversize corduroy,” notes Bernstein.
The fourth floor features more formal executive offices. “Each is different, partly because these ostensibly private spaces are meant to be seen by clients—well-designed offices are Knoll’s best advertisement.”
The space neighbors Black Rock, the dark granite-clad 1965 skyscraper by Eero Saarinen. Interiors at Black Rock were designed by Florence Knoll, for its longtime occupant, CBS.