Milan, 17 April 2018 – At the 57th Salone Internazionale del Mobile, Knoll celebrates its 80th anniversary, presenting new collections and iconic designs that reaffirm the creative vision that has made the brand famous worldwide. Founded in 1938 through collaboration with the great masters of 20th-century design and architecture, today Knoll continues to evolve by working with the most outstanding contemporary talents.
Salone introductions include collections designed by Piero Lissoni that establish a perfect dialogue with the architect’s latest creations already in the catalogue. This year Lissoni has designed KN Collection by Knoll, a family of armchairs based on an absolute balance between modernity and tradition. This seating collection is joined by the Red Baron by Knoll bookshelf, a versatile modular system that relies on the material impact of a structure in metal, glass and wood, with essential lines that make the product eclectic and customizable.
In addition, Knoll introduces Marc Newson’s Aluminum Chair. Honoring the cantilevered chairs of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a forefather of Modernism, Newson’s design, 90 years later, is a forward-looking expression that synthesizes simplicity, material and precision, in the Modernist tradition. The radical design reflects Newson’s fanaticism for the space age, as well as his belief that, “design is about improving things and about looking to the future, pushing technology forward.”
In keeping with the company’s “Modern Always” perspective, the Knoll display at the Salone also features new designs alongside modern classics created by inimitable architects and designers like Florence Knoll, Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen and Harry Bertoia, in an exhibition space curated with great style and painstaking attention to detail. The installation designed by OMA, the design firm co-founded by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, reflects the minimalist tone applied by Marcel Breuer in the original project for the Whitney Museum of American Art. The installation explores modular logic, prefabrication and geometry to create an adaptable, practical display space.
Andrew Cogan, Knoll, Inc. President and CEO, comments: “The DNA that Hans and Florence left is strong and has endured. Today, Knoll reflects Hans’s remarkable ‘salesmanship’ with a commitment to the best in design from Florence. We say ‘Knoll is modern always because modern always works’ based on their founding principles: the commitment to quality and design and the belief that design is about understanding client needs and solving a problem, with integrity and clarity. Such an approach will always be modern.”
Salone Internazionale del Mobile – New products for 2018
KN Collection by Knoll Designed by Piero Lissoni
For the Salone del Mobile 2018 Knoll introduces KN Collection by Knoll designed by Piero Lissoni, a seating collection of impeccable style, capable of making every moment a precious opportunity for complete relaxation, open interaction and the pleasure of socializing, or for use in private spaces set aside for regeneration in a dimension of personal identity.
The collection features a range of materials that set every creation apart, underlining the sophisticated spirit that looks to the future, while at the same time paying tribute to the great design of the past: accents to scatter freely in residential spaces, but also versatile solutions for high performance workplaces and luxury interiors.
The whole collection is made with a swivel base in polished or coated cast aluminium. The base equipped with an internal damper offers a self-regulating system to ensure immediate comfort.
KN comes in two different versions. In the low model KN01 the proportions between seat and shell height, combined with ample measurements, provide a balanced blend of compactness and comfort. The curved design has a minimalist tone, while offering maximum relaxation for those who choose it.
A second version KN02 with more compact and extended proportions is offered with a headrest and a practical manual mechanism built into the armrest enables the chair to recline, adapting to posture variations. Thanks to the mechanism hidden under the upholstery, it is possible to shift from an upright position to a more relaxing angle, and to block the back in any position. To provide flexibility and remarkable freedom of movement, as well as extreme comfort for long periods of time, the mechanism can be returned to its original posture with a soft, supple motion. The configuration can also be completed with a footrest KN03 suitable and a seat cushion padded with down, complete with lower back support.
“This is a seating collection, a family of chairs with a modernist spirit, for which I have applied my usual proportions. In this project I have set out to reflect the entire history of Knoll”, so Lissoni describes the new collection of armchairs.
A wide range of fabrics and leathers is available for KN Collection in all the versions, offering many options for personalization and accentuating the sober elegance of the design. KN is the perfect combination of some of the fundamental values of Knoll products: design, high quality of materials, maximum comfort and painstaking attention to detail.
Red Baron by Knoll Designed by Piero Lissoni
From the preliminary design to the manufacture of the finished product, the initial idea of the architect Piero Lissoni has become reality thanks to the expertise of Knoll, with its ability to develop innovative solutions. Based on observation of a detail of an airplane wing, Lissoni has designed Red Baron by Knoll by combining parts that gradually become lighter, tapering into a slender sheet of metal rendered sophisticated by the almost imperceptible thickness and by the finish itself.
Describing the bookshelf, Piero Lissoni says: “Our reasoning focused on triplanes, on how the wings of airplanes are supported. Continuing to remove material, the quintessence of the design emerged: a very slender sheet of aluminium with vertical struts. Just like a triplane.”
Red Baron is a modular bookshelf that focuses on material essence and personalized finishing for a unique touch and look, designed to store and display remarkable collections. The support structure is made with steel posts clad in anodized extruded aluminium, while the shelves have a refined aluminium finish. The parts allow for compositions of different heights and lengths, using modules one meter in width and 45 centimeters in depth. Red Baron always has a clean, transparent image in terms of form, with a visible, solid structure.
Delicate but forceful lines generate a harmonious aesthetic balance, the result of removal of any superfluous elements in a project that puts a clear accent on its contemporary character.
From the residence to the workplace, the bookshelf can alter its function while maintaining its aesthetic characteristics, depending on the choice of materials – extra-clear tempered glass or chestnut wood – which can also be applied in a mixed approach for the back and sides. The result is a family open to expansion, easily coordinated with the other products in the Knoll collection.
Marc Newson’s Aluminum Chair
Futuristic reverse cantilevered design synthesizes Knoll Modern heritage
Honoring the cantilevered chairs of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a forefather of Modernism, Marc Newson’s design, 90 years later, is a forward-looking expression that synthesizes simplicity, material and precision, in the Modernist tradition. The radical design reflects Newson’s fanaticism for the space age, as well as his belief that, “design is about improving things and about looking to the future, pushing technology forward.”
Defined by a single uninterrupted line, the design brings Marc Newson’s signature combination of organic forms and precision engineering to the Knoll seating portfolio. Echoing the futuristic vocabulary that characterizes his work, the side chair for Knoll marries hard and soft, solid and transparent, in a striking form that seems to levitate in space.
Commenting on his work for Knoll, Marc Newson said, “Knoll’s modernist tradition provided the launchpad to imagine a chair for twenty-first century working and living.” Newson and Benjamin Pardo, Knoll Design Director, agreed that a new side chair for Knoll would honor the aesthetic principles that inform the existing portfolio of Knoll Seating, specifically the cantilevered designs.
Newson and Pardo revisited several Knoll designs, starting with Mies van der Rohe’s Brno Chair. Celebrated for its lean profile and simple details, the Brno Chair reflects the groundbreaking simplicity of its original locale – the Tugendhat House in Brno, Czech Republic, designed by Mies.
While the Brno Chair served as a catalyst for the exploration, it was ultimately the 1928 Tugendhat Chair that most inspired Newson’s final design. Pardo explained, “Newson’s Aluminum Chair really pays tribute to Mies’s Tugendhat Chair, employing a similar reverse cantilever. This reverse cantilever evokes a visual weightlessness and renders an incredibly simple profile, where the seat floats effortlessly and is joined to the back via the legs of the chair.”
“We wanted to reimagine the tubular steel construction revolutionized at the Bauhaus–which is transitively tied to Knoll–with Newson’s unique ability to imagine organic, almost futuristic shapes,” Pardo recalled.
With this in mind, Newson forwent tubular steel in favor of cast aluminum, a material he felt allowed for a more dynamic form. The chair consists of three high-pressure castings–a main frame and two end caps–which connect to create a remarkably simple, yet structurally sound frame. To Newson’s liking, the complexity of the engineering is made invisible through mechanical precision and streamlined design. The mesh seat and back integrate seamlessly with the frame, further emphasizing the chair’s visual purity. To evoke a more residential feel, Newson selected a mesh that is tightly knit and is softer to the touch.
The Newson Aluminum Chair is offered in combinations of three frame colors: black, warm white, and grey; and six mesh colors: black, grey, blue, red, yellow, and white. In addition, the stacking chair has two versions: arm and armless.
A tribute to the original design of Knoll: the 80th anniversary edition of the Butterfly chair
For its 80th anniversary Knoll pays tribute to design originality, creating a special edition of the Butterfly chair. The year 1938 was a very fertile one for design history: among many developments, the Knoll company was founded, and a very special chair was designed, which Hans Knoll decided to include in the firm’s catalogue from 1947 to 1951, meeting with remarkable success.
Butterfly is a project that cuts across epochs: in 1937 three young architects – Antonio Bonet from Barcelona, Juan Kurchan and Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy from Buenos Aires – met in Paris and came up with a formidable intuition. They decided to redesign a true classic of military outfitting, the so-called “Tripolina,” a light folding chair with a wooden skeleton and metal joints, on which to place a cover in leather or fabric. The original was designed by Joseph B. Fenby in 1877 for the British army. The three architects worked above all on the structure, influenced by the international spread of metal tubular, associated in the previous decade with the rise of rationalist furnishings.
In 1947 Hans Knoll purchased the rights to the design, and it was produced with great success for four years, as the Model no. 198. The Butterfly came almost 30 years ahead of the radical research on unconventional and vernacular seating. It invented a new way of sitting, freeing people from formal situations and encouraging a new convivial spirit that laid the groundwork for contemporary furniture design, starting in the 1950s.
Today, once again history looks to design in pursuit of immortal beauty: the Butterfly chair proposed by Knoll in 2018, in fact, in a project developed 80 years after the original, introduces new materials to improve the sensory experience of users. Thanks to the technological prowess and fine craftsmanship of Knoll – indispensable allies to achieve products of the highest quality – today’s Butterfly has sinuous, dynamic lines, which are also made possible by the quality of the materials involved: the structure is in chromium-plated or coated steel, in white or black, while the seat is made with thermoformed felt. This element, in particular, represents the true innovation of the project, because thanks to its workmanship it becomes a self-supporting structure with the dual role of seat and covering. Furthermore, the laser shaping of the fabric, without added stitching, permits the direct interlock of the seat and the steel framework, ensuring comfort and elegance. Innovation, refinement and timeless style: three principles Knoll sums up in a single chair, creating a constant dimension in time and space.
Today this chair is still recognized as a classic of modernity, a crossover success story, a symbol of lightness and freedom, but also of an elegance that is simultaneously informal and refined.
New versions and finishes - 2018
Grasshopper Table Designed by Piero Lissoni
The elegance of Grasshopper is the result of a perfect combination of surfaces and structure: the surfaces, available in the novel rectangular form with rounded corners, or in the circular version, stand out for their extreme slenderness; the very slim structure with parts in high-performance cast steel is available in chromed, burnished or coated finishes. The tops feature unusual stones such as Rosso Rubino marble, glass and various types of wood.
For this year’s Salone, Knoll presents a hyper-extended version, reaching a length of 4.5 meters, with the added structural support of two central legs. As a result, Grasshopper becomes a system of large tables, starting from three meters in length, an ideal choice for meeting rooms or workspaces, and a true epitome of design and functional quality.
Avio Sofa System Designed by Piero Lissoni
With the Avio Sofa System, Knoll expands its collections of upholstered furniture, making them more complete and well balanced in terms of functional harmony, styles and requirements. The renewed Avio is available in a more compact version, without sacrificing any of the aesthetic appeal of the original. The seat is slightly less deep, to fit into smaller spaces while still providing moments of incomparable relaxation, enhanced by an innovative patented mechanism.
Knoll has expanded the range of fabrics for the Avio collection, to successfully enhance the appeal and elegance of contemporary design with a vivid identity. More than ever, aesthetics and technology are the distinguishing factors in creations that are ideal for lovers of solid, refined design for a comfortable, relaxed lifestyle.
Bastiano Sofa Collection Designed by Tobia Scarpa
Today Bastiano, as in its original spirit, adapts to the proportions of the contemporary domestic landscape. Conserving its finely tuned dimensions under the watchful eye of Tobia Scarpa, Bastiano now includes more ample and casual models, in keeping with its innate concept of maximum comfort and informal sophistication.
The soft upholstery is nonchalantly juxtaposed with the solidity of the wooden structure. For this edition, Knoll adds a new structure with an iroko wood finish to the collection, a type of wood that is particularly durable and sturdy, in a very warm yellowish tone that takes on natural walnut-brown highlights when exposed to UV rays.
After the success of the Venezia leather, this year Knoll has added the exclusive Bellagio leather to its range of materials, available for all the collections in the catalogue.
Knoll Pavilion 2018 by OMA
Once again this year Knoll has called on OMA, the design firm co-founded by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, to design and install the stand at the Salone del Mobile. This time the project takes its cue from the minimalist design of Marcel Breuer, as applied in the original project for the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York.
Due to what it communicates and symbolizes, the Whitney Museum of American Art (now MET Breuer) has been selected as a source of inspiration for the layout of the display setting, a tribute to the architecture of Marcel Breuer in the work that is perhaps his greatest achievement. The pavilion features a replica of the modular suspended ceiling he designed for the museum. The space is organized with a double grid – ceiling and floor – both made as flexible Cartesian infrastructures to respond to the layout of the space.
Modular design, prefabrication and geometry give rise to a versatile, functional space. OMA has chosen different materials that reinforce the concept of variety and create perfect backdrops for the products of the Knoll collection: tactile and solid, organic and artificial.
The path through the stand reveals new nuances of renowned design icons mixed with the latest creations, harmoniously shifting from subtle details to elegant, unexpected ensembles. The new products are the central focus, triggering relationships with their surroundings, in a blend of evolution and innovation. A new way of living, in the name of personality and creativity, developed for the home and the workplace, from the most intimate rooms to intensely public spaces.
Past the entrance, which features the dynamic 04 Counter from the “Tools for Life” collection designed by OMA in 2013, the focus shifts to the new developments for 2018. Alternating settings are formed with a perfect mixture of the new seats and bookshelves by Piero Lissoni, carefully combined with the classics of the collection designed by Florence Knoll, Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen and Harry Bertoia, just to name a few of the designers, all the way to the more recent Pilot Chair by Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby. Classic and contemporary products complete the display, where Butterfly and the novel collection by Marc Newson inhabit a secluded, exclusive space inside a theater created ad hoc along the main sides of the stand.
"Since 2013 we have paid particular attention to the design of the booth at the Salone, and OMA is able in every solution created for Knoll to underline the contribution of our founders to bring the benefits of modern design to both residential contexts and the workplace," says Demetrio Apolloni, President of Knoll Europe.
For Benjamin Pardo, Executive Vice-President for Design at Knoll, “Hans and Florence Knoll put together an incredible team, a remarkable mixture of great masters and young talent, creating a catalogue in which the ‘sculptural’ pieces were inserted in a harmonious framework of ‘architectural’ pieces (as Florence herself called them, though she also used the expression ‘meat and potatoes’). This factor of the mix is still fundamental for us today, because what sets Knoll apart from the others is the fact that we do not make single products, but try to find a balance between sculptural and architectural, designing for complete spaces.”