In what is the largest profile on the new Knoll Chicago Space at Fulton Market, the November issue of Interior Design goes into great detail to illustrate how the Company's new space reinforces its leading design principles. Tate Gunnerson, Interior Design editor, begins with the most obvious ground-breaking change: moving to the Fulton Market District. She wrote, "Formerly industrial, inhabited by meat-packing companies and warehouses, Fulton Market, as locals call it, is now populated by converted loft apartments as well as new upscale residential towers, restaurants, and boutique hotels." Since its founding, Knoll has contributed to the vitality of reimagined neighborhoods that attract both the design community and creative individuals alike. For Knoll, the district's new buzz was just right, providing the ideal setting for Knoll to present a transformative view of how we work and live today.
Built by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture, the neighborhood's "raw yet refined character" was the main sources of inspiration for Gensler, the firm chosen to design the Knoll Chicago space. Large iron windows and wraparound views are symbolic of thinking big and fresh perspectives. “The idea was that the showroom reflects Chicago, its grit and its grace,” commented Tod Heiser, Gensler principal and co-managing director. "And, of course, showcase the company’s staggering catalog of mid- and 21st-century furnishings by the likes of Anni Albers, Harry Bertoia, Florence Knoll, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen, David Rockwell, Dorothy Cosonas, and Antenna Design," he added.
Moving to the space's interior, Gunnerson highlights the double-screen of steel rods that unites the sixth and seventh floor, pointing out how the tubes of oil-rubbed bronze strung onto steel rods are a nod to Bertoia's metal sculptures of the '60s and '70s. Refined details like the Cavallini hair on hide, Rosso Rubino marble and custom merlot-colored drapery elegantly juxtapose the polished grit of the neighborhood and the space's iron and steel.
On the abundance of colorful KnollTextiles and reimagined Knoll classics in the lounge area of the sixth floor, Heiser commented, "Chicago is a city of extremes, and we should not be timid. In the middle of winter, the last thing you want is a bunch of neutrals." A series of close by diner booths using Rockwell Unscripted Creative Wall offer privacy and a quiet place to work. This pairing reflects co-founder Florence Knoll's pioneering "total design" perspective, which channeled the power of good design and blurred the lines between workplaces and homes.
Last but not least, Gunnerson visited the fifth floor, the North American flagship showroom of Scandinavian design brand Muuto. Pale Douglas fir paneling lines the main hallway, giving way to a pastel color palette that expresses the Danish brand's Scandinavian roots while also seamlessly integrating with Knoll classics. Of the space, Benjamin Pardo, Knoll design director, commented "Gensler played up the characteristics of the floors in such a way that they express the brand historically, in a contemporary fashion, and where it’s going."
Considering the space as a whole, Knoll at Fulton Market was designed to inspire commercial, education, healthcare, hospitality, residential and public sector clients to plan environments that adapt to evolving workstyles. Florence Knoll's "total design" perspective, blurring the lines between workplaces and homes, is now more relevant than ever.