As part of Salone del Mobile this week in Milan, Knoll, Inc. is introducing "Tools for Life," a new collection of furniture by OMA, the collaborative practice co-founded by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas in 1975.
Knoll tapped Koolhaas to help mark its 75th anniversary. “Tools for Life" offers a contemporary interface between furniture and people, supporting the ebb and flow of work and social life, while adjusting to the different needs of both. The collection includes everything from tables to desks to floor seating, benches and more, broken into three categories: Horizontal Tools for Life, Seating Tools for Life and Ancillary Tools for Life.
"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,” said Koolhaas.
At the core of the collection is Koolhaas's belief that furniture should be understood as a high-performance tool rather than a design statement.
"I want to talk about work and not the office—the distinction being that today people work everywhere," said Benjamin Pardo, Knoll design director. "With that in mind, the OMA pieces are more kinetic than static: many are easily adjustable so that with changes in height, adjacency and degree of privacy, almost any space can be transformed to a place of work."
The simple palette makes the furniture compatible with a range of residential and workplace interiors. Clear acrylic is juxtaposed with concrete; glass with leather; travertine with steel—beguiling and engaging contrasts that draw attention to individual pieces.
With this collection, Koolhaas joins Knoll's pantheon of modern masters, which includes such figures as Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen and Frank Gehry.
The collection will be on view at Prada's Milan exhibition space at via Fogazzaro, 36, where the pieces were first previewed during the Fall Men's Show earlier this year. Public exhibition hours are 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 9 (today) and Wednesday, April 10.