Project DescriptionFROM THE ARCHITECTS:
Building on the success of Knoll’s New York City and San Francisco showrooms, Architecture Research Office designed a new showroom and offices for the headquarters of Knoll’s southern United States sales division. Located on the 9th floor and roof terrace, the open floor has panoramic views of downtown Houston. The project includes conference areas and private offices of various sizes, as well as open office areas that double function to display Knoll’s furniture and textiles.
The interior extends the design language developed for the New York and San Francisco showrooms with a palette that is specific to the Texas locale. Like these showrooms, the Houston space is organized by a sculptural metal rail, in this case brass, that displays a changing selection of Knoll textiles that frame varied office and showroom spaces. The open floor unites showroom with varied flexible work spaces; private office, conference and pantry areas are located in the center of the floor plan, with glazed office fronts that allow for visibility and borrowed light.
The design integrates Knoll textiles as architectural finishes, creating materially rich spaces and settings for the display of furniture and fabrics. White terrazzo floors are lined with brass divider strips and inlayed with an occasional historic brass “circle K” Knoll logo. White felt vaulted ceiling panels at the entry area and main conference room transition into white felt baffles, an acoustic finish that absorbs sound in the open office and showroom. A wall of natural Spinneybeck leather is a backdrop for the Knoll timeline at reception and flows into the adjoining small conference rooms. Echoing the brass floor inlays, the leather walls are “branded” with the ”circle K” logo, which is also translated into a large, custom brass pull for the showroom entry doors. Blue perforated leather door pull wraps reveal the brass of the typical door pull and add warmth and texture to the space while tying into the color palette of the showroom. Products from the Architecture Research Office Collection with FilzFelt and Spinneybeck, including Baffle, Plank, Arc, and Petal (a custom screen consisting of leather and suede petals) are used throughout the space.
The integration of these pieces, as well as other Knoll furniture and textiles, has changed the paradigm of the Knoll showrooms, allowing the sales team to demonstrate products in active use. The design expands the Knoll brand and is a testing bed for new applications of Knoll products.