Knoll: Looking forward to the past

Knoll: Looking forward to the past

Soul. It's what every room needs, yet it’s so hard to even define. A space that’s full of life. A room imbued with narrative. Something with character, that’s timeless, evolving rather than aging. It doesn’t matter about the styles and trends going on anywhere but right here. The contemporary home is a deeply personal and intimate environment – every room should be an individual bubble, reflecting your singular style and enabling you to live the way to want to while telling your unique story.

Age is but a number

When your furniture library is full of world-renowned interior icons, new designs (aka soon-to-be icons) have to work alongside classic collections, which is just how Knoll operates – looking forward and also gazing back. The brand crafts rich, soulful pieces that remember, honour and complement its celebrated 20th century creations – and impressive roster of designers – while making future-facing furniture for the modern day and beyond. Knoll’s latest works are built to go hand in hand with the older, complementing and working with them, seamlessly bringing the multiple timelines together. Mixing the new and the not-so instantly adds the alluring feel of timelessness to the home as well as a sense of history, of journeys and of nostalgia. Does good design ever age? Not when it’s made by Knoll.

Back to the future

The Lissoni Outdoor collection of 2023 and the 1966 outdoor series by Richard Schultz look like branches of the same family tree. Defined by their slim frames, fluid lines, elegance and monochrome palettes, as well as their practical all-weather attributes, it’s hard, and slightly unsettling, that the ranges have nearly 60 years separating them. Lissoni’s was created with Shultz’s in mind, the modern pieces complementing the older, its cushioned sofa and multiple sized coffee table adds flexibility and upholstery into the mix.

Knoll- Lissoni Collection/1966 Collection

Piero Lissoni

Knoll Lissoni Collection

Jumps through time

Squint a little and 2018’s Newson Aluminum Chair by Marc Newson and the MR Chair by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1927 could be one and the same. Newson’s 91-year- younger piece is a contemporary dedication to the legendary seat which preceded it (the MR Chair itself a then-fresh Bauhaus-tinted update to the 19th century iron rocking chair), the newer seat obviously referring to the minimalist contours of Mie’s classic. Sitting alongside each other in the home the designs interact delicately and playfully with each other, a set of unidentical twins wearing the same clothes, both hinting at their legacies while making their own mark on the future.

Knoll Newson Aluminium

Newson Aluminium Chair/MR Chair

Knoll MR Chair

Pairing past and present

The 2013 Washington Chair by Sir David Adjaye is a modern accompaniment to the iconic Saarinen Outdoor Dining Table created by Eero Saarinen in 1957. The table and chair both share revered architectural backgrounds, sleek silhouettes, an abundance of curves and distinctive design details – the table inventing the pedestal base and the seat’s legs a sculptural feat of balance. Despite their age gap of 56 years, the Washington Chair and the Saarinen Outdoor Dining Table harmonise beautifully, disregarding the passage of time in favour of functionality and sculpture, old melding with new and moving forward together, revitalised.

David Adjaye/Eero Saarinen

Knoll - Washington Skeletal Chair

Knoll - Washington Skeletal Chair

Generational pick n mix

Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby’s 2020 Smalto Table has two feet in the Memphis- inspired, high-shine, colourful 1980s and the other two somewhere in the slickest-of-the- slick, pared-back, goes-with-anything future. A modern-day reinterpretation of traditional design themes, the table is deftly balanced and beautifully simple, its understated graphic form hyper-modern - yet happy to sit alongside more intricate, classic pieces from Knoll’s illustrious back catalogue.

Knoll Smalto Table

Knoll Smalto Table

Knoll Smalto Table

Myths and legends

The Klismos seating collection by Antonio Citterio looks back millennia, referencing the classicism of iconic furniture from ancient Greece. The slender frames of the chairs, bench, sofa and stool are named for and influenced by Grecian designs from around 500 BCE, defined by their curved features which were frequently painted onto pottery. Adding a light, contemporary (and comfortable) twist to the historic styles, the collection nods to the architectural structures of Harry Bertoia's modernist pieces as well as the almost mythical Greek forms.

Antonio Citterio/Harry Bertoia

Inspired by the collection of classics Knoll has to offer? Discover their full collection here

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