Walter Knoll’s FK Chair is a concise exercise in class, comfort and elegance

The Germans call it ‘gute Form’: clearly defined contours, perfectly executed lines and a lightness of volume. One example of such elegant design and craftmanship is Walter Knoll’s iconic FK chair, created by Danish designers Preben Fabricius and Jørgen Kastholm. 

Trained, respectively, as cabinetmaker and blacksmith, but meeting later, while studying interior design in the 1950s, Fabricius and Kastholm were united in their uncompromising philosophy of ‘perfection, aesthetics and minimisation’, devoting themselves to optimising shapes, materials and ergonomics. 

Having founded their creative studio in 1961, Fabricius and Kastholm caused a minor sensation at the 1966 Cologne Fair when they exhibited a series of minimalist but comfortable office and home furniture in steel and leather. The pair would go on to create numerous contemporary classics, most notably the FK chair. 

Designed in 1967 and described by its manufacturers as ‘compelling conciseness’, the FK chair comprises a bucket seat set on a three-leg aluminium base. Available with both high or low backrests, it is as timeless as it is modern; a bold and formal language of comfort and function, still handcrafted by the Walter Knoll experienced workmen.

Founded in Stuttgart in 1865 by Wilhelm Knoll, a leather craftsman and supplier, Walter Knoll’s expertise in design and ergonomic function has evolved over three centuries. The company has always been at the cutting edge of manufacturing techniques and brave new forms – even introducing the first club armchair to Germany – but the traditions of skilled craftsmanship combined with the finest materials is a constant.

Wallpaper* shot this short film on location in Germany, as tribute to the class, comfort and elegantly designed perfection of a veritable office classic. Gute Form, indeed.

Rosa Bertoli was born in Udine, Italy, and now lives in London. Since 2014, she has been the Design Editor of Wallpaper*, where she oversees design content for the print and online editions, as well as special editorial projects. Through her role at Wallpaper*, she has written extensively about all areas of design. Rosa has been speaker and moderator for various design talks and conferences including London Craft Week, Maison & Objet, The Italian Cultural Institute (London), Clippings, Zaha Hadid Design, Kartell and Frieze Art Fair. Rosa has been on judging panels for the Chart Architecture Award, the Dutch Design Awards and the DesignGuild Marks. She has written for numerous English and Italian language publications, and worked as a content and communication consultant for fashion and design brands.