14-mesa

Beating an idea to death is an accusation I’ve heard more than once, well what are ideas for if not to be used. Andrew and I were on a roll and we were not about to give it up. We just kept on making patterns and joked constantly about how we were the best-paid pattern makers on earth. We would have an idea about a product and go directly to the pattern stage, leaping off cliffs into space and designing the parachute on the way down was how we thought about what we did.

If ball players got huge contracts for being right a third of the time we would also. We wanted to be the Mickey Mantle & Joe DiMaggio’s of Design. We thought about design as a game that could be won or lost. Sometimes the designs works, sometimes they failed miserably, we just wanted enough at bats to be a regular part of the team and hopefully hit 300.

A series of tables followed the sofas and beds. We needed tables to go with the sofas; I think this was our first introduction to marketing. Someone at Knoll said, “Do some tables to go with the sofas.” Here we were concerned with the connection between the vertical and horizontal elements: Legs to tabletop. All of the complex mechanisms that have been devised to do this can be found in hardware catalogs. All marvelously convoluted attempts at disguising the obvious, deny the connection. We made an obvious connection. We drilled a hole through the top and used a bolt to affix the top to the leg. We in effect destroyed the ‘topness’ and ‘bottomness’ of the top. The top now had two lives; both sides of the top could be used.

 

Tables & Beds, 1973
Andrew Morrison & Bruce Hannah
Knoll, Inc
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Design is a Performing Art
Bruce Hannah 1997© | Illustrations by Bruce Hannah