Materials in Times of Change

June 10, 2020

Knoll Design Days went virtual this year and FilzFelt was excited to be a part of a panel discussion entitled “Materials in Times of Change: Textiles, Felt and More” on Tuesday, June 9, 2020.

What makes up the perfect blend of workplace materials and sustainable design? Cindy Allen—Editor-in-Chief of Interior Design—lead a live panel discussion with Dorothy Cosonas—Creative Director at KnollTextiles, Kim Yao— Principal at Architecture Research Office, and Nina Bruun—Color/Trend Consultant and Product Designer—on materials, sustainability, and more! FilzFelt panelists included Kim Yao who is part of the design team responsible for the ARO Collection for FilzFelt and Nina Bruun who is currently developing new felt colorwork for FilzFelt to be introduced in 2021.

Kim Yao began by saying that beauty and technology is what design is all about. And spoke about her preference for natural wool felt over synthetic felts: “Inherent in the quality of the material itself is the beauty of 100% natural wool, its durability, and the way it takes color—its impregnated with that color so the color is incredibly rich.” She mentioned the importance of acoustics and the aha moment of modular acoustic finishes that came with their work at the Knoll showroom in New York. Kim noted that there are rooms in the showroom where “you walk in and close the door and it’s like a big pillow.”

Kim also spoke to the challenges of designing in a post-COVID-19 world. “How do I go back to the office and what does that look like? Thinking about solutions of indoor air quality, good operational practices that have to do with cleaning, all those things are really important as part of this process but having solutions to create some degree of separation around their workplace is really important.” Kim previewed some new desktop screens that ARO has been working on and FilzFelt will introduce later this summer.

And Kim spoke about working as a designer: “We have to be resilient and we have to design spaces that are resilient.” “It’s about getting back to those core fundamental great design principles that do have to do beauty and color and performance and function and if we’re doing that well as designers then it allows us to be prepared for moments like this that are really challenging in a lot of ways but we’re trained to want to come up with solutions to this challenges.”

A Color/Trend Consultant, Nina Bruun spoke about her history with Muuto and the founding of her studio. In terms of color trends, she said she expects to see bright colors in response to the global crisis that we’re all going through. “Something that you see during a crisis… is that we tend to wish to positivity. So therefore we go way more bright and colorful overall. Crises can make people more creative and maybe the world a little more bright.” She also spoke trend spotting and looking to fashion and upcoming and underground designers for inspiration for work in the contract market. But she stressed that it is important to balance trends and longevity as well as have a broad perspective.

And Nina spoke about inspiration: “Sometimes its needed to search for the right tone, such as yellow, in something that exists… we have a huge materials library at the office and its something that we use quite often.” And in speaking about her colorwork with Muuto: “It was all about trying to create a color palette that of course matched the shape of the furniture but also maintain the Scandinavia style and be able to look out into the world and be relevant to an international audience.”

Cindy ended the session by saying “Felt is important. Let’s not forget the natural materials.” And we couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

Watch the entire chat below!

Part of the MillerKnoll collective