Knoll Flagship Showroom, Offices, and Shop | Architecture Research Office

Knoll’s new offices, showroom, and shop occupy 50,000 square feet on four floors of a mid-century skyscraper in Midtown Manhattan. On the street level, a home design shop features end-grain oak flooring and layers color, textures, and drapery to create a warm residential environment. Full-height windows on the second floor broadcast the company’s brand to the street.

Visitors to the second-floor showroom are greeted with a multimedia timeline that tells Knoll’s history through graphics, textiles, and objects. Black steel rails frame views and serve as a flexible display system for drapery and panel fabrics. A 55-foot wall features Knoll’s 2,400 textile, leather, and felt samples. The offices, a combination of open plan, private, and activity spaces, are an extension of the showroom, providing a place where clients can experience the furniture in use. These spaces are defined by interior glazing and gray lacquer panels and doors. Drapery and flexible, tackable panels are used to create semiprivate zones within larger open work areas.

The close collaboration between Knoll and the architect led to the design of an interior where furniture and architecture are integrally linked, each highlighting and complementing the other. The overall square footage of this space is smaller than the company’s former offices, but this is offset by an increase in alternative individual and collaborative work spaces that support a variety of work styles, whether public or private, formal or informal. Varied technology, such as interactive media displays and room scheduling, supports sales, work, and design efforts.

The project is on track to receive LEED® Gold. Major design items that were driven by sustainable goals were materials, lighting, and daylight. The use of LED fixtures was challenging, given the need for products to be well lit. The solution was a lighting grid that maximized flexibility and took advantage of daylight.

Additional Credit

  • Audio/Visual: Cerami & Associates, Inc.
  • Code Consultant: William Vitacco Associates, Ltd.
  • Engineer – MEP/FP & Fire Alarm: AMA Consulting Engineers
  • Engineer – Structural: Robert Silman Associates
  • Graphic Design: Project Projects
  • Information Technology, Security: TM Technology Partners, Inc.
  • LEED Consultant: Watkins Architect
  • Lighting Design: Tillotson Design Associates

Photo Credit

    © Elizabeth Felicella

Knoll Flagship Showroom, Offices, and Shop

Jury Comments

The interiors of this project have everything. They tell a good story about furniture design, displaying Knoll products and illustrating how they should be used. They are well integrated, well laid out, and purposeful.

The staircase, in particular, is well crafted and pioneering.

The interiors are playful with broad strokes of color and strong verticals. The texture on the drapes and curtains is structural and cohesive. It is a good work environment.

2014 Institute Honor Awards for Interior Architecture Jury

  • David Montalba, AIA, Chair
  • Montalba Architects, Inc.
  • Santa Monica, California
  • Casey Jones, Deputy Director
  • U.S. Department of State
  • Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Mary Morissette, AIA
  • 4M Design
  • Denver
  • Robert H. Quigley, AIA
  • Architectural Resources Cambridge
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Josh Shelton, AIA
  • El Dorado Inc
  • Kansas City, Missouri

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