We hear from the designers at Austrian studio EOOS about their prolific two-decade creative partnership with furniture brand Walter Knoll.
February 27th, 2018
In 1997, young design studio EOOS came knocking on furniture brand Walter Knoll’s door with a design proposal. Austrian designers Martin Bergmann, Harald Gründl and Gernot Bohmann had founded EOOS after their graduation just two years prior to that meeting, which went swimmingly. And out of it was born one of Walter Knoll’s all time best-selling sofas Jason.
Twenty years later, the collaboration between the studio and the brand is still going strong. It has resulted in some 100 products with a growing list of accolades to match. What’s the secret to this successful creative partnership?
“I think the biggest advantage is that we constantly work together on many parallel projects,” says Bohmann. He adds, “This way, you are always in motion without stopping or standing still. Problems arise when, from a standstill position, you need a lot of energy to gain momentum. We think it is all about movement and flow, otherwise you lose inspiration immediately.”
Bohmann shares that every EOOS and Walter Knoll project starts with a conversation. “As soon as we find a word, a sentence, an image or a feeling, the project takes off; we only have to follow the path. In general, we call our process ‘poetical analysis’ with which we search for rituals and intuitive images to define a field we can gravitate around. This helps us not to exit the orbit.”
This ‘poetical analysis’ is quite organic. “We are incessantly searching for that very specific segment of code in which both EOOS’s and Walter Knoll’s DNAs overlap,” says Bohmann. “When at times an idea is outside of our shared comfort zone, we try to shelve the concept for a while and then, years later, we often find the right key to develop it into a Walter Knoll and EOOS signature piece.”
Among this signature pieces are 2004’s Together bench, an award-winning modern reinterpretation of the corner bench; 2008’s Living Landscape, a configurable sofa set that can be rotated to create a 360-degree dialogue with the living space; and 2012’s curvy Bao swivel armchair and Bauhaus-inspired Atelier Chair, whose leather-clad comfort can easily traverse residential and commercial spaces.
One of the latest to come out of this inspiring creative partnership is the Tama Living collection. Designed to be a generous host, Tama Living features roomy volumes broken by a gap to accommodate a solid wood and leather tray that doubles as storage.
Walter Knoll is distributed across Australia through Living Edge.
INDESIGN is on instagram
The internet never sleeps! Here's the stuff you might have missed
By definition, the Australian Standards champion standardised approaches to design and engineering. What is the role of such guidelines in ergonomics, where flexibility and non-standard design are the goal?