12-parts

The Suspension Seating employs multiples of simple parts to make a piece: an extrusion, a side frame, end-cap and bolts, cushion. The elimination of right-handedness and left-handedness was an important consideration from the point of view of manufacturing and philosophically, since Andrew and I had a running joke that he did the right and I did the left sides of the pieces. Eliminating handedness justified the moot point of the argument. The more repetition you can design into a product, through the multiple use of parts, the less expensive the product becomes. Not only does it simplify the production process but it helps keep inventory costs down.

The really interesting thing for us, as we played with the idea of using extrusions to make furniture, was how the extrusions could go together. The extrusion started as a sail boat mast purchased on Chambers street in 20 foot lengths and carried proudly up West Broadway to the studio on Howard Street. We had already conceived of the end frames as aluminum castings, in fact we were becoming pretty good pattern makers, which awaited the extrusions. Putting together the first piece was very exciting, building a 20-foot long couch, that of course sagged in the middle, but it was marvelous to see.

Suspension Seating System, 1971
Andrew Morrison & Bruce Hannah
Knoll, Inc
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Design is a Performing Art
Bruce Hannah 1997© | Illustrations by Bruce Hannah