I decided to take a risk this final semester of graduate school and take a furniture course. I figured that if it was 20th century furniture I would be okay, since I do love some good design and my good friends, Charles and Ray Eames were 20th century designers. For my course, we took a field trip to the Knoll factory in East Greenville, PA, this past Friday and I was completely wowed.
Their museum, while small, contains their iconic pieces from the Knoll Studio collection, as you can see above. You walk in and are immediately greeted by a number of chairs and a handful of tables that speak volumes about mid-century Modern design. As you move through the room, you see more pieces that tell the story of how it progressed and how Knoll worked to be at the forefront of design and innovation. But the best part: you can sit in almost every single one of these pieces. Please name another museum where you can do that.
We then were given a tour of the factory, and while factory work is usually not at the top of my list of jobs I'd like to have, this one could be a contender. The factory is well-lit, open, comfortable, and every single person we talked to seemed excited and happy to be there. They were more than glad to tell us what they were doing and show us how they make their furniture. We were even allowed to touch the fabric that goes on the Life chair! Other employees from the engineering and marketing sides talked to us, and I got the overwhelming impression that Knoll works incredibly hard to be at the forefront of good design.
The most amazing thing they've come up with in the last year is the Generation Chair. It's a chair that borders on being intuitive, and as soon as I sat in it and realized the potential, I was sold. You can sit in it like a normal chair at your computer. Sit in it sideways. Sit backwards. Lean on it. Push it around. Basically, it does everything I've ever wanted a chair to do. Visit this site to learn all about how amazing it is.
Now, if only I could afford it...