After a nearly five-decade residency in Chicago’s art deco behemoth The Mart, Knoll opened the door to its lavish new showroom in June, in the city’s historic Fulton Market, a burgeoning design and innovation district.
The nearly 2,230-square-metre space (designed in collaboration with Gensler) occupies four floors of a seven-storey warehouse-style new build that reflects the area’s past as a centre of food wholesaling and meat packing. It brings together all the Knoll brands under one roof – notably, its most recent acquisition: the Scandinavian design house Muuto.
Situated on the fifth floor, the Copenhagen company’s new command post is also its first flagship in North America. Fittingly, the space makes a memorable impression – it’s resplendent. Expansive industrial-style windows line the entire perimeter, its concrete flooring is polished to gleam and its exposed overhead lighting and ductwork feel appropriately industrial. While the effect could have been roughed-in and unwelcoming, though, the space presents as warm, inviting and soothing thanks to the modern-cool palette and shapely furnishings, lighting and accessories that fill it.
From the terrazzo-topped bar lined up with oak-veneer Nerd stools to the clusters of formal meeting zones and flexible lounge-like spaces, the showroom is an expression of the constantly evolving modern-day workplace. Anchoring the view that greets visitors is a back-lit and translucent polycarbonate screen standing as a backdrop for a grouping of the popular Oslo sofa by long-time collaborators Andersson & Voll under a canopy of E27 pendant lamps by Mattias Ståhlbom, the exposed bulbs suspended from thin cables forming a perfectly aligned grid.
Throughout, favourites like Iskos-Berlin’s Fiber seating collection, David Geckeler’s Nerd chair and MSDS’s Halves side table comingle with debut pieces including the Relate side table by Swiss studio Big-Game (a first-time collaboration) and Andersson & Voll’s lastest addition to the Outline sofa series, the Outline Highback Work. The elegant piece offers both acoustic and visual shelter along with a built-in desk and handy storage and power access.
The displays are minimal, well-choreographed and easy to explore, which is the point. Muuto’s showroom embraces an organized and elegantly Scandinavian perspective on the expectations of today’s working world.
From its terrazzo-topped bar to its furniture vignettes – from formal meeting zones to cafe-style lounges – the showroom is an expression of today’s constantly evolving workplace.