words Johanna Agerman
“At a time when any fool who can rag-roll a knackered Irish dresser calls himself a designer, at a time when creatively-bereft designers are causing problems rather than solving them, it’s thrilling to be reminded that design is intelligence made visible,” said Stephen Bayley at the opening of the Knoll exhibition at Liberty, which celebrates 70 years of the classic furniture manufacturer.
As one of the 20th century’s most important producers of contemporary furniture, Knoll followed the Bauhaus philosophy of mass-produced, high-quality design. Knoll’s collaborators over the years have included Marcel Breuer, Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen, Frank Gehry and Ross Lovegrove. Works from all are on show in this exhibition. “Against the miasma of spineless relativism and posturing that’s contemporary design, this all looks pleasingly permanent,” was Bayley’s arch-traditionalist verdict.
Exhibition on until 4 September, 4th floor, Liberty
top image Tulip chairs by Eero Saarinen
Wassily chair by Marcel Breuer
Barcelona chair by Mies van der Roh