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.”
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