This is why Knoll decided to produce a components system with a fresh, high-tech look that is easy to assemble, may be inexpensively reconfigured to suit requirements, and responds to the needs of young corporations by growing with them. For design of the new system, Knoll turned to Asymptote, a pair of American architects (Hani Rashid and Lise Anne Couture) known for their ultidisciplinary, ironic, provocative approach to architecture and design.
In past projects they have looked at the impact of digital technologies on contemporary society, offering reflexive, creative projects on a number of different scales. Works such as the Guggenheim Virtual Museum or the USA Hall at the 2000 Venice Biennial are inspired by a desire to make the virtual into reality and vice versa.
Asymptote designed the A3 open office system for Knoll: an alternative to conventional office furnishings for offices with a free plan, a flexible, creative system whose potential is illustrated in the A3i area of Knoll's web site.
The architects wanted to create an individual workstation offering greater comfort on the job while reinvigorating the traditional image of the office. The A3 system offers practically unlimited freedom of design in the individual workstation and in the overall office scheme. A3 open office offers six basic workstation compositions (Urba, Ellipt, Sola, Arca, Arc Desc and Mit) which are structurally independent and can be fitted with accessories to suit individual needs. Their curved form is inspired by the concept that human work takes up a spherical space, identified by the human body's capacity for extension, by the implements to be used, by the positions assumed in performing various different activities and by relationships between people as they interact.