Jens Risom’s furniture, the first collection designed for and manufactured by Knoll, helped establish the company as an early source of modern design in America. The simple wood side table showcases Risom’s Scandinavian design sensibilities and the beginnings of American Modernism.
Originally known as the 600 Series, the Risom Collection was the first furniture ever commissioned and manufactured by the Hans Knoll Furniture Company. Prior to meeting Jens Risom, Hans Knoll operated as an importer and distributor of European Designs. Knowing that the war would disrupt his supply lines, Hans sought a designer to develop original Knoll Furniture that could be produced locally in New York. Serendipitously, Jens Risom was looking for a salesman to promote his work. They found each other in 1941, and the two young men—just 23 and 24—embarked on a four-month research tour of the United States. Risom later recalled: "There was no furniture, nothing to be had…everybody was anxious to buy everything they could get their hands on."
With this in mind, Risom designed a complete line of simple modern chairs, tables and storage that could be made locally, with materials not limited by wartime supply restrictions. Risom’s approach was perfectly suited for the challenge: "Design is a creative effort to successfully solve problems; ‘good design,’ therefore, is a ‘good solution’ which must satisfy the many requirements." The resulting furniture, which Risom described as "very basic, very simple, inexpensive, easy to make” was made from offcast wood and discarded nylon webbing from parachute factories.
- Top is veneered with cathedral pattern with poplar cross bands and backing
- Core and edge are solid hardwood lumber
- Legs and apron are solid maple or walnut
- Height: 45.7 cm / 18 inch
- Width: 35.5 cm / 14 inch
- Depth: 35.5 cm / 14 inch
- Top available in 3 finishes in maple or walnut hardwood
- Lacquer finish
- Greenguard Indoor Air Quality Certified®
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Boasting an extensive portfolio of products ranging from office work systems and residential mid-century modern classics, to textiles and accessories, Knoll is a leader of modern and sustainable design. Iconic designs from classic designers such as Harry Bertoia, Eero Saarinen, Warren Platner, Isamu Noguchi and Florence Knoll herself make up a large component of Knoll's collection, along with innovative contemporary pieces. Knoll's products can be found in private residences and major art museums alike, including 40 products in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. read more...
Founded in 1938, Knoll's reputation for design integrity has a long and decorated history under the guiding principle: "good design is good business." Knoll invests in extensive research, field studies, customer collaborations, and partners with experts from the fields of architecture, organizational behavior, technology and business management to ensure that its products adapt and respond to the evolving needs of their customers. Environmental needs and requirements are not overlooked by design house either. In fact, Knoll is also considered a leader in production practices that reduce waste, conserve natural resources and protect the biosphere.Knoll has a strong international presence in the design world - headquartered in Pennsylvania, USA with showrooms across North America, Europe and represented by dealers throughought Latin America and Asia. www.knoll.com
Knoll Jens Risom - Square Side Table Designed by:
- Jens Risom , 1941
“Furniture is not sculpture, nor is a particular design created only for visual appearance. Furniture clearly satisfy all requirements: It should be used, enjoyed and respected.” – Jens Risom
One of the first designers to bring traditional Scandinavian values of function and craftsmanship to the United States, Risom was part of a new vanguard that helped establish post-war America’s leadership role in the world of modern furniture design and manufacturing.
Born in Copenhagen in 1916, Risom was highly influenced by his award-winning architect-father, Sven Risom, who encouraged Jens to pursue academic studies in business and contemporary design. Risom began his formal studies in furniture design under the direction at the School for Arts and Crafts in Copenhagen. From 1935 – 1938, along with classmate Hans Wegner, Risom learned the value of simplicity and utility.
In 1938 Risom decided to go to New York to further his studies while familiarizing himself with contemporary American furniture design. Risom soon discovered that there were no real opportunities for study or work in his field. Instead, he worked freelance for the fabric and interior designer, Dan Cooper. In 1942 when the Hans Knoll Furniture Company was launched, 15 of the first 20 pieces – the “600” line – were pure Risom in design and construction with a subtle Scandinavian sense of modernity that created even more interest in the young designer’s abilities. These were the first and last pieces Risom would design for Knoll.
Jens Risom was drafted in to the US Army and then when the war ended decided that it was time to form his own company, Jens Risom Design, Inc. (JRD), which he launched in 1946. After nearly 25 steadfast years of design and manufacturing control, Risom sold his company. Today he lives in Connecticut and is still active in the design community.