Rivers by Knoll
While upholsteries have been a main focus of design and production at Knoll Textiles since the division’s founding in 1947, they were not the first textiles sold by Knoll. Screen-printed drapery designs had been introduced as part of the Knoll line five years before the textile division’s debut. Since that time, Knoll’s printed fabrics have done much to establish the company as a leading innovator in modern textile design. Barbara Rodes-Segerer, who led Knoll Textiles from the late 1960s to the late 1970s, shepherded many remarkable designs to fruition. A particularly interesting example is the “Three Meter” collection, four prints introduced in 1972 that were the result of a collaboration between Rodes-Segerer, the Austrian designers Gretl and Leo Wollner, and Pausa AG, the German manufacturer. Rodes-Segerer allowed the Wollners much freedom in originating the designs, which were proposed as extremely large prints with no pattern repeat from floor to ceiling. Leo Wollner had designed for Pausa, a leading textile printing firm, since the 1950s, and Pausa worked with Knoll to realize these ambitious designs. Perhaps the most striking and innovative of the prints is “Rivers” with its undulating lines printed on cotton velvet. The subtle gradations of color were achieved by mixing the dyes during the printing process, creating an effect reminiscent of watercolor. These extraordinary panels were eminently decorative for home, office, and public interiors and remained in production until 1978. The free abstraction of forms and vibrant color combinations of the “Three Meter” prints underscored Knoll’s leading position in textile design in the 1970s.
Bard Graduate Center, New York City