Richard Schultz is back at Knoll as he sold his brand to Knoll in March, 2012. Schultz began his career at Knoll in the 60′s. His petal table pictured above can be seen in the Museum of Modern Art in New York city. With the rise of mid-century trends in the marketplace Knoll and Schultz will make a great team once again. It will be a while before Office Furniture Outlet will see Schultz’s designs on our showroom of used office furniture but we always keep up to date on what is trending in new office furniture. Read more on Richard Schultz below.
For Furniture Designer Richard Schultz, It’s Back To Knoll – Forbes
For outdoor furniture designer Richard Schultz, last month’s sale of his brand to Knoll, Inc., the purveyor of modern office furniture by the likes of Eero Saarinen, Warren Platner and Harry Bertoia, completes a full circle. Schultz’s classic designs such as the Petal Table, and his contemporary pieces like the Topiary Collection, are now under Knoll’s umbrella. Here’s the back story.
When Schultz started his design career at Knoll in 1960, the company was so close knit that when he and co-worker Trudy Busch got married, owner Florence Knoll lent out her Paris apartment to them for their honeymoon. Schultz’s first breakthrough design was the Petal Table, inspired by a weed, Queen Anne’s Lace, on the Schultzes’ Pennsylvania farmhouse property. It was designed to accompany Bertoia’s iconic wire chairs for Knoll, and was made part of the permanent design collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Next up in 1966: a collection of sleek chaise lounges billed as the Leisure Collection, designed at the request of Florence Knoll for her Florida home. “My editor was Mrs. Knoll,” Schultz says. He stayed on at Knoll until 1973, when he left to be a freelance designer. Knoll itself was bought and sold many times, and Schultz’s furniture went out of production.
Fast forward to 1990. Schultz had prototypes of a visionary line called the Topiary Collection made out of perforated sheet aluminum. He now calls it “the funny one with the holes in it,” or to quote him in the current catalogue: “I wanted to design a chair that looks like a shrub pruned to look like a chair.” He tried to peddle it to various manufacturers, including the staid Brown Jordan, but the reaction he got was that it was “too weird.” Undeterred, he and son Peter, an architect in New York, took that rejection as the impetus to start Richard Schultz Design in 1992. There would be two missions: to reintroduce the classics with some reengineering (the Leisure Collection was renamed the 1966 Collection), and to have an outlet for Schultz’s newest designs.
New designs came easily: The Café Collection of stackable chairs with funky triangular folds in the seat and the back; the Swell Collection of outsized pieces for customers who found the 1966 Collection “too puny” (Richard Schultz doesn’t sugar coat things). He stayed in the design room for the most part; Peter managed the business side of things; and Trudy kept a notebook of all the disasters, including failing thread. “It was rather sinister of her,” Schultz quips.
The craze for mid-century furnishings heated up, and consumers started splurging on outdoor living rooms. When Knoll made its first call on the Schultzes to ask whether they would entertain a sale five years ago, the Schultzes said no. Each year they came out with new product lines, building the value of the brand, riding out the recession. This year, with high-end buyers back, the Schultzes felt the timing was right when Knoll knocked again, and the sale went through in March. (Richard had gifted his shares to Peter for estate planning purposes, so Peter was 100% owner at the time of the sale).
Richard and Trudy are now retired in Vermont, where Richard is trying to focus on his small scale metal sculpture work. Peter signed up for three years as a consultant to Knoll to help with the transition. “We are a Knoll product, hence Peter is a Knoll product,” Richard says, smiling at Trudy and then at Peter.
via For Furniture Designer Richard Schultz, It’s Back To Knoll – Forbes.