In the early 1950s the Planning Unit took on a project for IBM that required a large number of desks. The different needs of each of the divisions of workers at IBM necessitated a desk that could be tailored to meet each set of requirements.
Florence Knoll devised a simple method of addressing the individual requirements by altering the selection of three basic components of the desk: a frame of square-section metal tubing, in chrome or “black oxide”; a top of either walnut veneer or “walnut plastic laminate”; and pedestals—one or two—available in an assortment of configurations of drawers and cabinets with doors. As such, this was the very first Knoll furniture system. A second base option in wood—solid walnut with “dark lacquer finish”—was added as the Model 3500 desk series. Pedestals for both lines were walnut veneer.
The desks, which first appeared in Knoll price lists in 1956, became a staple of Planning Unit interiors, and a widely specified Knoll product.