Koolhaas Unites Architecture, Design and Fashion

Article excerpt

Byline: Colleen Barry Associated Press

MILAN -- Shedding his "puritanical" attitude against architects designing objects, Rem Koolhaas has shifted scale to create 11 pieces of furniture for the U.S. industrial design house Knoll.

The Dutch architect's creations, which premiered in conjunction with Milan Design Week, include a dynamic counter -- a stack of three horizontal beams that can be transformed from a screen-like unit to cantilevered shelves and benches that invite people to sit, climb and lean in. The end result is a social/intellectual romper room.

The "Tools for Life" pieces are meant for either the home or the office and recognize that technology is also transforming interiors. Portable devices mean work and entertainment can happen anywhere, while the digitalization of books and music has streamlined the need for shelves.

"Furniture needs to be more versatile. Any activity can happen anywhere. Furniture has to now behave in more than one kind of predictable way," Koolhaas said.

In Koolhaas' vision, the pieces don't just furnish a room, they animate it.

To take his pieces beyond aesthetics, the Koolhaas collection is highly engineered. The same principles of the dynamic counter are applied to a coffee table, comprised of three transparent boxes that can slide and rotate to multitudinous purposes, one of which could be a Lazy Susan.

Similarly, tables -- round or rectangular -- can be elevated or lowered to a relaxed lounge position, a traditional dining mode or a standing/active stance. …