BRUCE HANNAH, after graduating from Pratt Institute in 1963, made a career of understanding and exploiting modern technology and materials to create efficient, practical products. Design, as defined by Hannah, is first and foremost problem solving.
Hannah found a philosophical and creative partner in Andrew Morrison, with whom he introduced several innovative products for Knoll in the 1970s. Exploring the possible applications of aluminum in modern furniture, the pair introduced a lounge seating system in 1971, a related line of tables one year later, and a collection of office chairs in 1974.
Hannah joined the faculty at his alma mater, Pratt, in 1993, where he still teaches today.
AYSE BIRSEL’s career began in the capital of her native Turkey at the Middle Eastern Technical University in Ankara. A Fulbright Scholarship brought her to New York, where she earned her master’s at Pratt Institute. A self-admitted eternal student, Birsel flourishes in collaboration. She has worked with many of the top furniture design companies worldwide, and examples of her work are in the permanent collections of The Museum of Modern Art and The Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum.
Birsel collaborated with veteran Knoll designer Bruce Hannah to develop a new line of office accessories as part of KnollExtra’s launch in 1990. The result of this collaboration, the Orchestra Collection, epitomizes the simplicity and practicality that govern the work of both designers.