Knoll Furniture: Life 1953

An article about Knoll Furniture titled "Drum Beaters for Modern" appeared in Life Magazine's March 2, 1953 issue. In it the writer states, "Knoll was stubborn. He decided he would make nothing but modern furniture and fabrics even if he went broke"; I for one, am glad he was resolute in his decision and "marched to the beat of a different drummer"!  The images below appeared in the article.

Italian-American designer Harry Bertoia (1915-1978) designed the wire chair group for Knoll in 1952. In describing the collection Bertoia stated, "If you look at the chairs, they are mainly made of air, like passes through them." Pictured from far left to right are; the Side Chair, the Bird Chair and Ottoman with full cover, the Diamond Chair and Large Diamond Chair. The wire sculpture on the wall also appears to be a Bertoia piece.

Above is the Bertoia family pictured in front of Harry's famous barn studio in eastern Pennsylvania. In the center of the photo is part of the brass sculpture Bertoia was completing for the GM Technical Center.

Pictured above are both the single and two-seater versions of the Womb Chair designed in 1946 by Finnish-American architect and designer Eero Saarinen (1910-1961). When asked to explain his design, Saarinen stated, "People sit differently today than they did in the Victorian era. They sit lower and like to slouch...The Womb Chair...also attempts to achieve a psychological comfort by providing a great big cupcake like shell into which you can curl up." On the wall above the chairs is a Harry Bertoia birdcage sculpture. 

Pictured above are the Barcelona Chair and Stool with sling (not the padded stool) designed in 1929 by German architect and designer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) and Lilly Reich (1885-1947). Though Knoll didn't begin producing the pieces until 1943, they were originally created for the German Pavilion at the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona.  The original design featured pigskin cushions and a bolted frame; it wasn't until later that they were made with a seamless stainless steel frame and cowhide cushions. Also above is the Barcelona Table, originally called the Dessau Table, designed in 1930  for the Tugendhat House.

And last but certainly NOT least is the curious sculpture seen on the coffee table; it appears to be a Marino Marini piece. I am not positive, but I believe it is a miniature version of Marini's The Angel of the City (1948). Below is the original size statue at the Guggenheim...boy that is quite the appendage.

Marino Marini (1901-1980), The Angel of the City, 1948, bronze, 41.75" x 65.93". via Guggenheim

If you would like to see the original article have a look here.

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