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Design

TOOLS FOR LIFE by OMA for KNOLL

By Maddie Bourque

April 18, 2013

“Tools for Life,” a new furniture collection by OMA for Knoll, Inc., debuted at the 2013 Salone Internazionale del Mobile in Milan, Italy last week. Knoll, which specializes in the creation of dynamic workplace furnishings, enlisted OMA, the leading collaborative international partnership co-founded by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, to help celebrate its 75th anniversary.

Knoll design director Benjamin Pardo wanted dialogue to surround the concept of work and not the office, saying “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 chances in height, adjacency and degree of privacy, almost any space can be transformed to a place of work.” Symbolic of this metamorphic nature is the collection’s signature piece, 04 Counter. Three horizontal bars are stacked vertically attached by internal rails that allow 360 degrees of movement. The piece, although it appears as a solid, inflexible unit, can be arranged into a social space or series of shelves by adjusting the top two bars. This element of surprise is what inspired Koolhaas who said, “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.”

Other pieces in the collection emphasize the evolution of the modern office, adapting to the changing needs of working spaces. 05 Round Table and 06 Table seamlessly combine the demands of work and social life, as both can be adjusted for lounging or standing. Representative of Koolhaas’ belief that furniture should be viewed as a high-performance tool, 06 Table is powered by electric mechanism, exposed on the table’s surface. A simple palette is offered in “Tools for Life,” with juxtapositions of clear acrylic and concrete, glass and leather, and travertine and steel.

“Tools for Life” was shown at Prada’s Milan exhibition space at via Fogazzaro, 36 on April 9 and April 10.

KnollOMAPradaRem Koolhaas

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