Developing a new piece of furniture is a voyage of discovery. Constructors, upholsterers and seamstresses are venturing into unknown territory with designers. As the expedition leader, I’m mediating between creatives and craftspeople. The former give us direction, making their sketches and plans, and the latter are digging down and collecting what they find. If all goes well, what we end up with is treasure – the perfect rendition of design in technology, construction, material, form and function.
Our aim is for our customer to get a perfect product. This means that our expedition might take a little longer. In the case of the Leadchair, it lasted five years. Three times, the designers altered the design for the better. The chair we discovered at the end of the process has almost nothing in common with the initial idea. But it is perfect!
En route to the workshop: as mediator, Jürgen Röhm is often on the move around Walter Knoll’s traditional premises.
We never develop a product for the product’s sake. There is always a single, strong idea. Can we add new value to the category of the sofa or table – a new function, technology, or aesthetic? This might be a wonderful softness to the touch, an extraordinary seam pattern, or a fascinating surface.
Mission Tama Desk: Jürgen Röhm with graphics for a new, sculptural Walter Knoll desk.
Leather, wood, wool: we work with natural materials. And this fact harbors another exciting challenge. The beauty of nature has no limits. Technology can only control nature up to a certain point. So our designs and processes always take into account these wonderful variations and idiosyncrasies. We call it imperfection in perfection. That might sound lofty, but for us it’s another factor that enhances the value of our products. Because our goal is to develop furniture with its own special character.