OMA for knoll: tools for life at prada presentation OMA for knoll: tools for life at prada presentation
apr 22, 2013

OMA for knoll: tools for life at prada presentation

the collaboration OMA / knoll was unveiled at prada’s autumn/winter menswear fashion show prior to the 2013 milan design week
image courtesy prada





OMA has made its foray into furniture by collaborating with knoll on a collection of contemporary interfaces to support
the ebb and flow of work and social life, adjusting to the needs of both. the first elements of this collection are a 11-piece
series of furniture – which designboom caught a glimpse of at the prada F/W 2013 menswear fashion show in milan.


knoll and rem koolhaas have officially launched the collection during the 2013 milan design week.




rem koolhaas and andrew cogan (knoll CEO) discussing the material choices of the furniture collection
image © designboom




commenting on the endeavor, rem koolhaas said, ‘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.’


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,’ added 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, no-nonsense 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.




scale models of ‘tools for life’
image © designboom




rem koolhaas with the ’04 counter’
image © ilan rubin
courtesy of knoll, inc.



the colorful designs complemented the bright hues featured in prada’s fall/winter fashion selection.


pink, blue and white foam swivel armchairs, geometric and vibrant, contrasted the stacked wood and translucent plexiglas coffee tables.
the theme for the show was ‘ideal home’ – ‘tools for life’ each scene accompanied with mustard-muted domestic objects such as telephones and
turntables made from wood or foam, fortifying the household feel. the dynamic backdrop for each setup invited the audience
further into the manufactured home life with animated projections depicting windows looking out onto the city street,
topped off with cats strolling across sills.




the catwalk setting
image courtesy prada





the theme for the show was ‘ideal home’ where OMA/knoll presented ‘tools for living’
image © designboom




small domestic scenarios were arranged
image © designboom




image © designboom




’03 coffee table’
image courtesy prada





the ’03 coffee table’ is a stack of three transparent boxes constructed of clear acrylic. internal slides allow the individual elements
to be rotated and cantilevered, giving users the ability to adjust its overall shape depending on changing needs.




the collection features distinctive geometric forms
image © designboom




the ’03 coffee table’ is made of three transparent acrylic boxes with internal slides that allow each volume to be individually rotated and cantilevered
image © designboom




close-up of the low table
image © designboom



top view showing the internal mechanisms
image © designboom




a view of the stage
image courtesy prada



the 11 floor seating where ‘ideal home’ scenarios were on display
image © designboom




the 11 floor seating, featuring simple upholstered cushions, provides alternate seating heights for work, reflection or relaxation.




the dynamic backdrop for each setup –  an animated projection depicting a window looking out on the street
image © designboom




the models move through the space like characters of the domesticated scenes
image © designboom




each staged scene was accompanied by domestic objects such as telephones and turntables, fortifying the household feel
image © designboom




the objects dotted throughout the space were made from foam and wood
image © designboom




overview of the fondazione prada space
image courtesy prada



a panoramic view of the runway
image courtesy prada




some of the fashion on show
image courtesy prada




the colorful designs of ‘tools for life’ by OMA/knoll complemented the bright hues featured in prada’s autumn/winter fashion selection
image courtesy prada



OMA associate architect ippolito pestellini
image © designboom




designboom met up with OMA architect ippolito pestellini and spoke with him about the ongoing collaboration between OMA and prada:


db: can you describe the strategy for how you design imaginary spaces versus real spaces?


during the fashion show we basically document what we do. all of this is turned into its possible use, into very aggressive graphic images that
normally feature a virtual space, so we sort of invent this space for the collection. obviously it doesn’t exist, but it’s the best space for
the clothes – before reality, before they get sold. though there is obviously a visual dimension to OMA in general, 75% of our production doesn’t
get built so it’s virtual by definition. maybe they are too difficult or too costly; we always look for interesting projects. sometimes you find
a client like [prada] that lets you build them, sometimes you don’t. the transformer pavilion would have never been possible without prada.




db: can you talk a little bit about working with a client like prada, that has almost no boundaries or limits financially, creatively, etc…?  


the advantage is that you are obviously freer, but you are also confronting a client that is extremely creative. sometimes your creativity is questioned
by somebody else who is as creative, or more creative than you. it makes things very difficult, it’s a constant challenge to compete with them.
we do not normally
receive a brief, develop the project and submit the project at the end of the process, it’s a constant back and forth – it can be very stressful. 



’04 counter’
image © a.osio
courtesy of knoll, inc.




the dynamic ’04 counter’ is the collection’s signature piece. beginning as a monolithic stack of three horizontal beams,
the user can rotate the top two beams and transform this wall-like unit into a series of shelves and cantilevered benches—
a metamorphosis from a spatial partition to a communal gathering place. rigorous engineering and a system of internal bearings and
rails facilitate 360 degrees of movement. patterned wood grain and leather surfaces provide unexpected and subtly sensuous contrasts.



’04 counter’
image © a.osio
courtesy of knoll, inc.




’04 counter’ – top view of the shifted volumes
image © a.osio
courtesy of knoll, inc.




’04 counter’ – and the volumes aligned flush against one another
image © a.osio
courtesy of knoll, inc.




’05 round table’ and ’01 arm chair’
image © a.osio
courtesy of knoll, inc.




for individual, focused or collaborative group work, the ’05 round table’ integrates mechanical sophistication with seemingly effortless effects.
like the ’06 table’, it can be adjusted to accommodate lounge seating or even standing. the ’05 round table’ features a travertine top with
a base of the same material, or an acrylic top with an aluminum base. an exposed mechanism, powered by an electric motor,
elevates or lowers the table.


the ’01 arm chair’ is a height-adjustable, swivel lounge chair with a clear acrylic exterior frame and leather interior upholstery.
a mechanical column base with a signature red band provides height adjustment at the touch of a button.
a concrete base plate grounds the design.



’06 table’ and 11 floor seating
image © a.osio
courtesy of knoll, inc.




conceived as an executive desk, the 06 table has a two-piece laminated glass top. the two horizontal surfaces,
one a work surface and the other intended for storage, are separated by four round, glass columns.
like the 05 round table, the 06 table integrates mechanical sophistication with seemingly effortless effect.
it can also be adjusted to accommodate lounge seating or even standing.



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