13---sofa

Andrew shared a sailboat while he was working on Expo 67 in Montreal and was intrigued with the way the sail attached to the mast. A rope is sewn into the edge and it is then slipped into a channel in the mast. We took that idea and developed it into a double row of welts that when slipped into the mast not only attached the sofa cushion but acted like a zipper and closed the cushion also. It was this kind of idea that intrigued both Andrew and myself.

The elegance of a detail always out weighed the form. The extruded mast actually a “B” section eventually was subjected to an early computer aided design program that insisted on adding weight and mass to the extrusion which Andrew and I both disagreed with, unfortunately we lost out to the machine, only to vindicated a few years later when the European production of the sofa was being readied. The European extrusion succeeds in eliminating the mass and returns it to a fine clear lightweight elegant solution.

Our curiosity eventually lead us to investigate how we could bring the extrusions together at right angles. How could we create a casting that was simple and didn’t have a lot of undercuts? We were simple pattern makers: we didn’t know how to make core boxes, so the casting we designed was simple and straightforward. I think part of the success of these products is that they are “dumb” and clearly understood. Twenty five years later Peter Eisenman called the product “dumb” as he specified it for a large installation.

 

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