Knoll Tools for Life Furniture: Where Form Meets Function

By Karen Koenig | Posted: 05/09/2013 11:25AM


They call it Tools for Life. Designed by OMA for Knoll, the collection is indicative of today’s lifestyle and the need by people to flow between work and social life. Knoll worked with OMA co-founder and Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas on the collection, which made its debut at the Salone Internationzale del Mobile in Milan.

Koolhaas said that the end result was to create furniture “that performs in very precise but also in completely unpredictable ways.” He succeeded with this collection.

The signature piece is the 04 Counter (pictured with Koolhaas). In its most basic position, the stack of three horizontal bars create a spatial partition. Rotate the top two, and you transform the furniture into a series of desks, tables, shelves or even cantilevered benches. Engineering and a system of internal bearings and rails enable the 360 degrees of movement.

With the idea that people work everywhere, “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,” said Benjamin Pardo, Knoll design director.

The collection also includes the 03 Coffee Table, a stack of transparent acrylic boxes with a special slide system to enable individual parts to be rotated and cantilevered, based on the need. Hardware and other mechanization enables the other tables in the collection to easily adjust for standing or sitting. Flexibility in seating also is addressed in a number of chair options.

View the slideshow above to see additional furniture from the 11-piece collection.


About the Author

Karen M. Koenig

Karen M. Koenig has more than 25 years of experience in the woodworking industry, including visits to wood products manufacturing facilities throughout North America, Europe and Asia. As Editor-in-Chief of Woodworking Network magazine (formerly Wood & Wood Products), Karen’s primary responsibilities include spearheading the writing, editing and coordinating of the editorial content of the publication, along with the Red Book resource guide and the Red Book online source and supply directory ( She is also a frequent contributor to other Woodworking Network online and print media. She can be reached at or Google+.

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