OMA-Designed Furniture for Knoll Unveiled in Milan
A new furniture range, "Tools for Life," designed by OMA for Knoll, was unveiled today at the 52nd annual Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan. Knoll invited Rem Koolhaas to design the furniture to mark the company's 75 years in the business, in which time they have commissioned furniture by the architects Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen and Frank Gehry, among others.
The Tools for Life range is based on the idea that furniture should be understood as a high-performance instrument rather than a design statement. OMA conceived the furniture to facilitate the contemporary flow between work and social life, while adjusting to the different needs of both.
Rem Koolhaas commented: "We wanted to create a range of furniture that performs in very precise but also in completely unpredictable ways, furniture that not only contributes to the interior but also to the animation of the interior."
Benjamin Pardo, Knoll's design director, commented: "I wanted to talk about work and not the office - the distinction being that today people work everywhere. With that in mind, the OMA pieces are more kinetic than static: many are easily adjustable so that with changes in height, adjacency and degree of privacy, almost any space can be transformed to a place of work."
Tools for Life includes the 04 Counter, intended as a new typology of furniture: starting as a stack of three horizontal bars, the user can rotate the top two bars into any configuration, transform the wall-like unit into a series of shelves, desks, and cantilevered benches at different heights - a metamorphosis from a spatial partition to a communal gathering place.
The collection features tables that can be adjusted - also by electric motor - from coffee table to desk height, swivel chairs, a stool, an executive desk, and other items. Each piece is made from a simple material palette (transparent acrylic, leather, travertine, steel, wood, glass, concrete) making the furniture compatible with a range of residential and workplace interiors.
The collection will be on view during the Salone del Mobile and at Prada's Milan exhibition space at via Fogazzaro, 36, where the pieces were first previewed during the Fall Men's Show earlier this year.
OMA collaborated with Inside/Outside on the design of Knoll exhibition space at the Salone del Mobile. The project, featuring an organic sequence of spaces, defined by a continuous double layer white curtain, redefines the paradigm of a trade show stand, provoking a more subtle, surprising and intimate relationship with the products.
All images by Agostino Osio.