To Knoll It Is To Love It…
Knolling is “the process of arranging like objects in parallel or 90 degree angles as a method of organization.” It was coined by Andrew Kromelow, a janitor who worked for Frank Gehry.
At the time, Gehry was designing chairs for Knoll, a company famously known for Florence Knoll’s angular furniture. Kromelow would arrange any displaced tools at right angles on all surfaces, and called this routine knolling, in that the tools were arranged in right angles—similar to Knoll furniture. The result was an organized surface that allowed the user to see all objects at once.
Sculptor Tom Sachs, who spent two years in Gehry’s shop as a fabricator, adopted the term from Kromelow, and employed the phrase “Always be Knolling” (abbreviated as ABK) as a mantra for his studio; from his 2009 studio manual, 10 Bullets:
BULLET II: ALWAYS BE KNOLLING (ABK)
- Scan your environment for materials, tools, books, music, etc. which are not in use.
- Put away everything not in use. If you aren’t sure, leave it out.
- Group all ‘like’ objects.
- Align or square all objects to either the surface they rest on, or the studio itself.
As we hold the line on chaos, we might recall that it was on this date in 1923, that the 29th President of the United States, Warren G. Harding, died in the Presidential Suite of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. An “America First” proponent, Harding had promised a return to normalcy after World War I. In the event, he delivered an administration plagued with corruption– including the infamous Teapot Dome scandal; one member of his cabinet and several of his appointees were eventually tried, convicted, and sent to prison for bribery and/or defrauding the federal government. It’s no mystery then that Harding has consistently ranked at or near the bottom in rankings of Presidents. But given that Harding entered politics from a career as a journalist, it may come as a surprise that he earned this obituary comment from poet ee cummings: “The only man, woman or child who wrote a simple declarative sentence with seven grammatical errors is dead.”