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International furniture giant Knoll’s selection of Architecture Research Office to design its first retail store, along with the flagship showroom and offices, reflects shared values of intelligent planning, sensitivity to craft, and materiality.
Located in the heart of Midtown Manhattan, the spaces exemplify new models of flexible workspace design while paying tribute to Knoll’s 75-year history.
In the shop, colorful layers of textiles and drapery combine with end-grain oak flooring to create a warm, residential environment. Illuminated lacquer shelving fills the the double-height space, and a fully glazed storefront broadcasts the Knoll brand to the street. Upstairs in the showroom, a choreographed path draws visitors through the space, which is defined by a vibrant 55-foot wall covered with 2,400 textile, leather and felt samples. Two steel stairs showcase felt and leather and extend the showroom upwards to the sales, marketing, design and executive floors.
In the offices, clients experience open plan, private office and activity spaces in active use. An increase over Knoll’s previous space in alternative individual and collaborative work environments supports a variety of work styles – formal, informal, public and private. Other details, like the rounded felt ribs which line and insulate the “phone booths,” silver silk wall coverings, and perforated suede drapery combine to create a dynamic and functional environment.
The close collaboration between Knoll and ARO led to an interior where furniture and architecture work hand in hand, combining a modern aesthetic with the latest research in workspace planning and technology.