Icons and the color black

Our new special edition brings together our FK chair and 369 armchair with an armchair and a sofa from each of our Fabricius and Foster 502 programs. The Black Edition consists of modern icons from different eras – from the 1950s to the beginning of the new millennium. 

The Icons

As symbols of identity, icons act as signposts throughout our lives. Their unique nature makes them a lighthouse in a sea of sameness. And not only because they are so recognizable. Icons awaken our emotions and establish values, and are therefore only truly recognized by those who can sense their timeless quality. 

When it comes to iconic pieces of furniture, it is above all the classics of modernity which impress us with their beauty, their harmony and their completeness. It takes a connoisseur to decipher their DNA, which in each case is an inimitable interplay between form and material. 

Icons do not age. Their influence does not decrease with time – by contrast, it increases as they endure. There is nothing more sustainable in life than an icon.

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The Time

However no design is born an icon – time brings out its iconic nature and lends it a certain aura. The visionary nature of a creative work is often only tangible in retrospect – only then is its modernity fully understood and appreciated. How lasting is the effect of a work – does it even lead to a paradigm shift? The answer to this question is often only revealed with the passing of time. And it is exactly this that makes iconic status so valuable: it develops naturally, and cannot be directed, or calculated in advance. Authenticity is its currency.

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The Color

Colors too can be iconic. Or non-colors. The image of Audrey Hepburn’s little black dress in Breakfast at Tiffany’s is unforgettable. Black is a classic, the epitome of elegance, ease and style. From Konrad Adenauer’s limousine to James Bond’s tuxedo – certain objects are only imaginable in black. Artists including Kasimir Malewitsch, Pierre Soulages, and Mark Rothko use black as a medium of abstraction. And for Lucio Fontana, the non-color represents the end and the beginning – in essence, eternity. The painter and sculptor Anish Kapoor recently secured the artistic rights to a specific black, Vantablack, which absorbs 99.9% of light and makes structures disappear. Black is also never just black – the color is surprisingly versatile. Black is ubiquitous in design, because it creates contrasts with every other color. It underlines contours, defines forms, and is both statement-making and understated at the same time. 

The Edition

The modern icons of the Black Edition are created in this same spirit. These timeless designs are marked by the lived values of Walter Knoll: handcrafted excellence, aesthetic connoisseurship, and carefully selected materials of the highest quality. Walter Knoll has chosen seven timeless classics to present in uncompromising black, crafted from matt black, powder-coated steel, and soft, smooth black leather that becomes more beautiful each day. 

All seven icons were designed in the Stuttgart area, a cradle of modern architecture and interiors since the building of the Weissenhof Estate in 1927. Each one is a cult object of the modern age. Their design language, which remains as relevant as ever, is united with an unpretentious and reliable aes-thetic. And in a world that spins ever faster, reliability has become a great asset. An icon promises one thing – “I will endure”. What a comfort to hear these words today.

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