Guest Feature: Justin Pratt, Manager KnollStudio UK and International
As Mies once said “it is almost easier to build a skyscraper than a chair”. There are a few, just a small handful of great furniture designs and for the most part they share a sense of transcending time, but then there is an even more select group – the special ones: The Grace Kelly’s, the Marilyn Monroe’s, the Bridget Bardot’s of the furniture world – the really beautiful ones, the ones that just exude pure unadulterated glamour.
Why Blofeld was not captured on film in a Platner Easy Chair stroking his white cat as he despatched Bond to yet another would-be grisly end is beyond me. It took many Bond films until Platner took centre stage in Quantum of Solace (2008). Deep in the Bolivian desert stood a hotel come hangout for Bond’s latest nemesis. This time though the white cat was missing and Platner Side Chairs and Tables made their appearance in the hideout’s restaurant. They wanted glamour and they got it. All was well until Warren Platner’s creations were sent hurtling across the screen as Bond did his stuff. We should have cottoned on earlier. When the production team asked “we would like to use Platner Tables and Chairs in one of the closing scenes”, we should have realised that it was not going to end well for the intricate filigree of steel rods, glass tops and leather upholstery.
Platner worked on some of the 20th Century’s most magnificent structures. He had worked with Eero Saarinen on the Interior for the iconic TWA Terminal at JFK and then was in part responsible for completing the soaring Saint Louis Gateway Arch of Saarinen’s untimely death. Going it alone, Platner designed the Windows on the World restaurant at the top of the World Trade Centre, but it is his furniture designs for Knoll for which he will probably be best remembered.