: New York : 1979-1981
The original Knoll Design Center project included and centralized many Knoll corporate functions within a 70,000 sq.ft. renovation of a 7 storey Cast Iron Loft building in the Soho Historic District of Manhattan.
The project included Landmark restoration of the building, planning and design of 20,000 sq. ft. of corporate office interiors, planning and design of a 13,000 sq.ft. furniture showroom space.
The showroom furniture installations and space planning were designed in collaboration with Lee Stout of Knoll Interiors.
The prime focus of the project was to create a showroom for the Residential/Fine Furniture Collections.
Three strategies were established for the development of the project.
An adaptive re-use strategy for re-programming the building, a restoration strategy for returning the building back to it's original state as part of the Soho Historic Landmark District, and an archeological approach to historic design details in a dialectic with the new design interventions.
Paul Haigh wrote at that time :
The project evolved empirically such that a detail concept for the interior architecture was established at the outset whereby discoveries in the building process would be allowed to remain and exist in juxtaposition with the new work.
For example, the cast iron column detail exposed at the first floor stair opening tells of the post/beam and mortise and tenon construction. This didactic approach to old and new details attempts to enhance the procession through the space. Similarly, the approach to the placement and detailing of the major display platform attempts to give understanding to the "new " suspended away from the old. Architecturally the idea of "suspension" is closely linked to lightness. Emotionally, it should achieve the idea of a simplistic journey.
The project was expanded and redesigned in 1992 as part of the KnollGroup.