This year Knoll celebrates 80 years of innovative modern design, and influential Australian designer Marc Newson has created the striking Newson Aluminium Chair to mark the occasion. Honouring the cantilevered chairs of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, a forefather of Modernism, Newson’s design is a forward-looking expression that synthesises simplicity, material, and precision, in the Modernist tradition.
The design of the chair is defined by a single uninterrupted line, bringing together organic forms and precision engineering to Knoll’s portfolio—a form that seems to levitate in space. Newson and Benjamin Pardo, Knoll Design Director, agreed that a new side chair for Knoll would honour the aesthetic principles that inform the existing portfolio of Knoll Seating, specifically the cantilevered designs.
The pair revisited several Knoll designs, including van der Rohe’s Brno Chair and the 1928 Tugendhat Chair. It was the latter that proved to be the driving inspiration behind Newson’s final design. Pardo explains:
Newson’s Aluminum Chair really pays tribute to Mies’s Tugendhat Chair, employing a similar reverse cantilever. This evokes a visual weightlessness and renders an incredibly simple profile, where the seat floats effortlessly and is joined to the back via the legs of the chair.
The chair comprises cast aluminium—a material Newson felt allowed for a more dynamic form. The mesh seat and back integrate seamlessly with the frame, further emphasising the chair’s visual purity. To evoke a more residential feel, Newson selected a mesh that is tightly knit and is softer to the touch. Offered in three frame combinations and six mesh colours, it’s also available with or without arm rests.
Marc Newson not only pays homage to the work of the great Mies van der Rohe and Knoll’s exceptional portfolio, he has produced an elegant and minimalist design that merits long-standing praise.