Knoll, Tools for Life, The Future of Furniture

Knoll, a 75 year old furniture company started alongside the Bauhaus, and it’s reputation for its contribution is not dissimilar; what the Bauhaus was to modernist creative education perhaps Knoll is to modernist furniture.
Knoll worked last year in association with OMA (who you may not have heard of but their principle Rem Koolhaas you should have) to create some conceptual pieces, and the results are worth thinking on.
Tools For Life aims to focus on surfaces with different heights. Look around you and most furniture is form driven, and that was not the goal. Instead of worrying about ergonomics, aesthetic ornament, curvature, or whatever, they looked at discovery. What they created goes back to furniture being a tool and not a design statement (though obviously these pieces inherently being design statements is unavoidable).
What it raises though is some interesting points, perhaps about consumption and wastefulness. For example the difference between a coffee table, dining table and work desk is not their location in the house or their form, it is only fundamentally their height. Instead of the clunky extendable tables you might find in Harvey Norman, consider holding a button to change height, like we have become so used to with car seats.
Considering how a piece can bring people together or separate them, how pieces through movement can completely alter, is interesting, perhaps only because we aren’t used to it. We consume like mad. We have become so entrenched with the perceived needs we can no longer distinguish them from real needs. A wine connoisseur may have a preference for what glass they use, but for me, if I use the same mug for juice, beer, cocktails, wine, water, milk, coffee, tea, or even eating my morning cereal. Why can’t I also use it for everything from ice cream to ramen?
These behaviours are quite natural to us, and these solutions are exciting. So often progress is found in regression to the simple.
Warning though, simplicity is also why we enjoy that so many devices use USB even though the technology is clearly not the best on offer, why microwave meals and McDonalds are slowly killing us, and why so many people play an instrument as simple and useless as the guitar!