In a true testament to good design, Knoll has reissued two of Florence Knoll’s furniture designs, which have been out of production since 1968. ‘Model 31’, a lounge chair, and ‘Model 33’, a small sofa, have been brought out of the archives in tribute to Florence Knoll’s legacy as a pioneering architect, interior designer, furniture designer and an all-round American design legend. Not only do these two designs speak to the revolutionary impact she had on modern interiors, they attest to her forward-thinking vision for having simple, efficient forms that are easily adaptable to any space – even almost 70 years later.
‘Model 31’ and ‘Model 33’: Florence Knoll’s revived classics
First released in 1954, ‘Model 31’ and ‘Model 33’ showcase Florence Knoll’s astute attention to detail and form. ‘These designs feel totally relevant today,’ says Jonathan Olivares, senior vice president of design at Knoll (and featured in our Wallaper* USA 300 guide to creative America). ‘They are at home in the hospitality environments of our time, and they serve as geometric vehicles for textiles. Knoll’s approach is relational, through specification and choice clients who can relate Knoll pieces to their interiors. The “Model 31” and “33” embody this thesis.’
Amy Auscherman, MillerKnoll's director of archives and brand heritage, says, 'Florence Knoll recognised that offices and homes would always need comfortable upholstered sofas and chairs. Her innovations were in refining and perfecting these forms. Knoll’s first furniture designs used more traditional wood frames, but she created her most iconic pieces once she made the move to metal. The tubular steel frame and immaculate upholstery of “Model 31” and “Model 33” are an early example of her perfection and reduction of form.'
She adds, 'Production of these chairs ceased in 1968. By that time, Knoll was focused on developing and producing [designs] for the burgeoning panel-based office-system industry. Today we have the opportunity to reintroduce these designs from the archives that have new relevance in both the home and workplace.'
Ideal for residential settings but equally as complementary to commercial or contract backdrops, “Model 31” and “Model 33” are lightweight, strong and stylish, and effortlessly address the needs for engagement, connection and socialisation that are ubiquitously prioritised today. With their clean lines and a new palette of colours and textiles to choose from – a nod to Florence Knoll’s founding of Knoll Textiles in 1947 – the results can be as current or as timeless as the user wishes.
Auscherman says, '“Model 31” and “Model 33” were Florence Knoll’s first use of a metal frame for her furniture designs and achieve the detailing of a steel frame building. Her background as a trained architect is clearly reflected in this collection.'
Olivares concludes, ‘These pieces are considered, elegant, and simple, a rare combination of qualities in furniture. Even taken from the archives, “Model 31” and “33” make perfect sense today, and help us remember and embrace the attitudes that Knoll should hold onto as it moves forward.’
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Pei-Ru Keh is the US Editor at Wallpaper*. Born and raised in Singapore, she has been a New Yorker since 2013. Pei-Ru has held various titles at Wallpaper* since she joined in 2007. She currently reports on design, art, architecture, fashion, beauty and lifestyle happenings in the United States, both in print and digitally. Pei-Ru has taken a key role in championing diversity and representation within Wallpaper's content pillars and actively seeks out stories that reflect a wide range of perspectives. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two children, and is currently learning how to drive.
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