Warren Platner


Baltimora / United States

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The renowned American designer, Warren Platner (1919-2006), obtained his degree in Architecture from Cornell University in 1941. He began his professional career in the offices of Raymond Loewy and I.M. Pei and later worked for Eero Saarinen, participating in the projects for Dulles International Airport in Washington, the Repertory Theatre at Lincoln Center in New York, the John Deere headquarters and several dormitories at Yale University. At the time, he also became interested in furniture design. Platner's Mid-Century taste mixed with his personal need for expression, leading him to develop an Art Deco interpretation of the modern American style. In the 1960s, furniture became more elegant and glamorous, marking a break - of which Platner was a stalwart promoter - with the minimalism of the previous decade. Every decorative element of his designs, even the most opulent, is supported by a clear architectural concept. Thus, in his surprising design for the interiors of the Windows on the World restaurant in the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York, mirrors and brass elements were integrated with the architecture rather than conceived as mere decoration.

Platner's eponymous collection for Knoll (1966) is famous throughout the world as a true icon of modern furniture. The design combines technology and craft, revealing special attention to the movement of people in space. The collection's central piece is a chair conceived as an extension of its base that envelops the seated person. For this project, Platner personally formulated the fabrication details. The optical effect of the seat bases, which have the dual function of structure and ornament, is the result of very complex crafting that includes more than a thousand welds of more than a hundred cylindrical steel bars for each piece of furniture.

For the project's 50th anniversary in 2016, Knoll presented a new 18k gold plated finish for the structure since Platner had initially designed it to resemble "a shining sheaf of wheat". However, large-scale production did not allow for the gold finish, replaced by a nickel-plated steel version. ... More ... less
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