OMA “Tools for Life”

While in the digital era the boundaries between personal and working spaces are fading, Rem Koolhaas embraces a new paradigm in furniture design: the OMA for Knoll “Tools for Life” collection features kinetic, adjustable spaces, by exploring a retro-futuristic aesthetic.

An electric motor and can be raised or lowered by pressing a large red button.
An electric motor and can be raised or lowered by pressing a large red button.

Image source: Author:Emilie Chalcraft

Coffee Table and Arm Chair

The coffee table and the arm chair (respectively 01 and 02) are major pieces in the “Tools for Life” collection. The table features three acrylic tiers, which similarly to the 04 Counter top can be rotated to create a new layout in each layer. Two lounge arm chairs surround the table. They are covered by soft leather, framed by an acrylic exterior. While the 02 model presents a clear acrylic base, the 01 model has a height-adjustable column, operated by a mechanism with the classical red button, like the tables.

The furniture collection "Tools for Life" at the Prada fashion show, 2013.
The furniture collection “Tools for Life” at the Prada fashion show, 2013.

Image source: Author:Emilie Chalcraft

A New Kinetic Space

“Tools for Life” is a furniture collection created by Rem Koolhaas and OMA for Knoll. It was previewed in January 2013 at the fall/winter Prada men’s fashion show. As stated by Koolhaas, the aim was to create a new kind of furniture “that performs in very precise but also in completely unpredictable ways, furniture that not only contributes to the interior but also the animation of the interior”. The collection perfectly synthesizes the past and the future, by searching the “deeply satisfying quality in doing small things”. These pieces are dynamic, sometimes motorized, and adaptable, in order to satisfy the different needs of social and work life. Thanks to the simple material palette the furniture is compatible with a range of residential and workplace interiors.

Rem Koolhaas
Rem Koolhaas

Image source: by 準建築人手札網站 Forgemind ArchiMedia

04 Counter

The 04 Counter features a stack of three horizontal wooden tiers. The three shelves have a double function: neatly arranged, they form a single counter top, used as a dividing panel; but they can define a new space, while being rotated around a central pivot. The counter is transformed into a 360° rotating team workspace, a “piazza”, as it was called by Benjamin Pardo, Knoll’s design director.

Tools for Life collection
Rem Koolhaas. The Tools for Life collection

Image source: Author:Emilie Chalcraft

05 Round Table and 06 Table

These ‘60s inspired tables can be raised or lowered thanks to a large red button, bringing to mind the power of doomsday. The button activates a mechanical base, which can reach lounge, dining and standing height. The 06 Table was conceived as an executive desk and features a horizontal work surface and a storage surface, separated by four glass columns. The 05 round table has travertine or acrylic top and base, connected by the aluminum mechanical column.

Image source: Author:Emilie Chalcraft


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