Harry Bertoia was a complete and gifted artist. Knoll historian Brian Lutz once said, “Bertoia’s paintings were better than his sculptures. And his sculptures were better than his furniture. And his furniture was absolutely brilliant.”
On the suggestion of Herbert Matter, who had worked alongside Eames and Bertoia, Florence and Hans traveled to California and encouraged Bertoia to move east and set up his own metal shop in the corner of Knoll’s production facility. Having studied with Bertoia at Cranbrook, Florence was sure that he would produce something brilliant if given the time and space to experiment.
While he only designed one collection of furniture, Bertoia continued to be involved in the Knoll story by providing sculptures and architectural installations for Planning Unit projects. He collaborated with Eero Saarinen to design the altar for the MIT Chapel. He spent the next 25 years of his life experimenting with light, sound and volume through sculptures, paintings and architectural installations.
Today Knoll carries on Harry Bertoia’s legacy of innovation, inspiration and beauty with the Bertoia collection, which has been in continuous production around the world since its introduction. In 2005 Knoll introduced the Asymmetric Lounge, a design from Bertoia’s initial experimentation that never reached production.