East Greenville, PA: Knoll

Visit: Knoll has been in the process of documenting its archives/historical production for the past year or so, systematically cataloging the classic furniture in its Museum collection and in an off site archive. A consultant, a Knoll veteran, was retained for this purpose. The source material used for her research, five full height filing cabinets filled with catalogs and price lists, dates back to the early 1940s. The information has been documented in a FileMaker Pro database and lists detailed information about each piece along with a catalog photo and an actual photo of the piece in inventory. Single and multiple criteria searches are possible within the database. She gave us a few pages as samples.

In addition to the documentation of production pieces, Knoll has many cabinets filled with corporate archives, including old drawings, photographs, and several formats of digital and image material. A comprehensive archive of brochures, photographs, transparencies, advertisement copy, catalogs, and design drawings also exists at the Company's New York office. This material is used frequently for promotional purposes and is organized by designer and product line to facilitate easy searches, but it is currently not cataloged.

Discoveries: Knoll has gathered together examples of production pieces to document its history, and has them on display (see picture) in the Museum. Their website includes a wonderful Knoll Museum timeline, as well as other resources for students. (see the biographies).

We also looked at the Knoll library. The collection includes books about mid century furniture design; it was started by Carl Magnusson during his tenure with Knoll as Vice President of Design. The library collection is not yet cataloged.