Sunday, May 13, 2012

Order takes its knoll

On Facebook, Friend Wendy alerts me to a term that I did not previously know: the verb to knoll. This refers to aligning or squaring things (as on a desk), or more broadly, arranging things in what might be considered an uber-anal-retentive way. (Salon calls it "A design meme for neat freaks." ) Here's a desk that's been knolled:

Here's what a knolled store might look like, courtesy of the artist Andreas Gursky:

The infallible Wikipedia relates this origin story:

The term was first used in 1987 by Andrew Kromelow, a janitor at Frank Gehry's furniture fabrication shop. 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.

WP further notes that the sculptor Tom Sachs incorporated the rule "Always Be Knolling" (ABK) into his "10 Bullets" training film. You can see the relevant clip here:

I appreciate knolling for its aesthetic, and I aspire to becoming a knoller, tho this would not be evident from anything like, say, my desk. But at least I know a word for that thing I would like to do.

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