Knoll, a long-time resource for modern furnishings, debuted its newest venture this January with the opening of the Knoll Home Design Shop. The store is in the heart of Los Angeles’s West Hollywood design quarter, and those familiar with the brand for its consistent delivery of recognizable mid-century pieces will be surprised to find them deftly reimagined.
The showroom, occupying a 4,000-square-foot corner on Robertson Boulevard, was designed by L.A.-based architectural firm Johnston Marklee in collaboration with Knoll design director, Benjamin Pardo. In a nod to Knoll’s history, the design was inspired by York Castle, the Tangier home of Knoll International’s president Yves Vidal.
The private palace on a cliff was recognized in the 1960s for featuring contemporary furniture in a traditional architectural context. Under Vidal’s leadership from 1951 to 1972, the house of Knoll set out to introduce modern designs that had been so successful in America to the European market. By demonstrating furniture could coexist with Europe’s past architectural styles, the brand won favor with designers and the public alike.
Johnston Marklee’s design pays homage to those avant-garde showrooms of the Mad Men era. The space is broken up by perforated screens and enveloped in Moorish arches, each one framing simple furniture vignettes. Recalling midcentury Italian architecture, the exterior is clad in old-world, hand-polished grey terrazzo. The interior features luxe details such as brass framing, a two-story wall paneled entirely in gold-tone mirror, and oak herringbone floors. FilzFelt panels, drape from the ceiling, evoking canopies seen in traditional Italian festivals and pavilions.
Similar to the brand’s focus under Vidal’s direction, the Knoll Home Design Shop intends to serve and inspire residential designers and the Los Angeles design community, shaking off Knoll’s reputation as a source for high end office furniture. “Los Angeles interior designers set the benchmark for modern with a special passion for stunning materials and finishes,” notes Pardo.
There are modest updates, such as Mies van der Rohe’s iconic Barcelona chair with canvas cushions (only before offered in leather), to an at times brilliant array of new brass and rose gold metal finishes—some of which are exclusive to the Knoll Home Design Shop. New collections by David Adjaye, Mark Krusin, and David Rockwell also share the showroom floor.
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