Chicago, IL, November 28, 2023 – Knoll has selected rising artist Noel Mercado to reinvent classic Knoll chairs. Spotting his earlier works using Knoll designs as a medium, Mercado was engaged to create new pieces with full creative freedom. The artist used salvaged car parts and accessories to develop one-of-a-kind artworks with the Cesca Chair, Spoleto Chair, and Wassily Chair as the foundation.
Mercado’s practice is based on using found objects to generate new functions and forms. With this project, he transforms the Cesca Chair into a muti-sensory concept using hundreds of “Little Trees” air fresheners; car speakers give the Spoleto Chair a completely new purpose; and seatbelts on the Wassily Chair “hold you up rather than holding you in,” according to Mercado.
“I like to take objects intended for a specific function and apply that function to something completely new, like with the seatbelts on the Wassily Chair,” commented Mercado. “Or sometimes there’s a more personal attachment, like the ‘Little Trees’ on the Cesca. I always had a specific one hanging in my car throughout high school. I still like the sculptural quality and the vibrant colors. It’s such a recognizable object.”
Mercado’s works exemplify his strong craftmanship and ability to honor an object’s origin. When developing these pieces, he aimed to preserve the history and patina of the original materials, while also incorporating a sense of humor.
For Mercado, collaborating with Knoll is a natural fit given their shared dedication to craft. “Working on Knoll furniture requires a serious appreciation for the artists and the standards they set when they designed these pieces,” Mercado added. “Deconstructing Knoll furniture has taught me a lot about structure, materials, beauty, and the balance between them all.”
This artistic partnership is a continuation of Knoll’s commitment to supporting emerging artists, and builds on Knoll’s dedication to sustainable design that considers the social, economic, and environmental impact of business on people and the planet.
“The relationship between art and design is essential to everything we do at Knoll,” commented Suzanne Michaels, Senior Director, Global Brand Creative, Knoll. “Noel’s work – which is positioned right at the intersection of these disciplines – challenges viewers to rethink everyday objects.”
The three artworks will be available for purchase on Mercado’s website starting on November 28 at 8am CT / 9am ET. Mercado will receive 100 percent of the proceeds.
*Image credits: 1st, 4th and final rows: Adam Jason Cohen
Founded in 1938, Knoll is a globally recognized leader in modern design. Knoll uses modern design to create places people love to be, and over the last 85 years, its commitment to modern design and ongoing dialogue with designers and customers has yielded a timeless collection of pioneering products for high-performance workplaces, work-from-home settings, and luxury residential interiors. A recipient of the National Design Award for Corporate and Institutional Achievement from the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, Knoll has championed sustainable practices in manufacturing. Knoll is a founding sponsor of the World Monuments Fund Modernism at Risk program. Knoll is a part of MillerKnoll, a collective of dynamic brands that comes together to design the world we live in. For more information, visit knoll.com.
Brand Communications, Knoll