6 Non-Aligned Alternatives to Knoll Office Furniture That Won’t Break the Bank
If you’re a commercial interior designer, Knoll furniture has likely crossed your idea board time and time again. Knoll uses the most innovative techniques in office furniture design to create comfortable, attractive furnishings that are both sleek and modern.
But as well-designed as these products are, they’re not always the right fit for your project. If your client is a small business or a growing startup, or if the organization is looking for open line flexibility and a more service-focused dealer selection, exploring substitutes for Knoll furniture may be your best option. From Knoll systems furniture to Knoll chairs, here are six impressively appointed alternatives to big-brand furniture that won’t break the bank or cut corners on style and reliability.
1. Systems furniture: AIS
With increasingly collaborative workforces, companies should consider utilizing systems products, which are now the name of the game. These customizable modular systems incorporate workspace, storage, electrical requirements and more to create the perfect work environment for your clients’ needs.
Knoll office systems are great for large and small teams alike, combining mobility with space-saving designs to adapt to your clients’ needs. Antenna workspaces is one example of a systems furniture line that’s strategically designed and aesthetically neutral to allow for self- expression. You can adjust each station to focus on individual work stations, shared spaces or team-style Knoll Antenna desks.
If you’re looking for something similar to the expressiveness and flexibility of Knoll’s Antenna system in a non-aligned line, AIS is your top-of-the-line choice. In addition to having a great price point and solid warranty, AIS is reputed for its attentive customer service. Known as a modern manufacturing marvel, AIS’s lean, award-winning systems are designed with open space in mind, while fulfilling the requirement for a multi-functional workstation.
AIS’s Oxygen benching system is made for collaboration, high-tech workspaces and offices whose needs may shift. These stations can adapt to electrical needs, computer accessories, privacy requirements and employee work styles. With electrical components built right into the surfaces and legs, Oxygen makes it easy for end users to stay connected. Blend Oxygen with just about any of the other innovative AIS lines to create many different layouts, covering every need of your business now and in the future.
2. Desks: DARRAN
Despite the modern trend of using systems furniture, some organizations and industries still call for private offices and individual desks. Certain professions simply function best in a private office space. If that’s the case, you’ll want something beautiful, highly functional and well-made at the right price point for your project.
Knoll’s Reff Profiles line is certainly an excellent choice. It’s flexible and designed well enough to scale to your client’s growing workforce. This desk combines old-world materials with modern style and even offers integrated electrical components to keep your workspace organized and efficient. Countless additional options are available, from the Florence Knoll desk to the Knoll standing desk.
For a non-aligned manufacturer that builds premium-quality wood desks, turn to DARRAN. This company is environmentally conscious, easy on your budget, innovative and known for making superior built-to-order wood furnishings in North Carolina. A family-operated business, DARRAN even partnered with the global leader in wood coatings (Environmental Urethane Technology) specifically to develop a new finish technology that meets modern environmental requirements.
The Rift line in particular is sure to hit the mark on your modern private office and desk needs. Rift features designs that are fully height-adjustable to accommodate sitting or standing. These pieces are also manufactured using the Design for the Environment protocol and built to order each time, making them the perfect companion to modernist. Rift gets its name from the rift-cut techgrain on all face planes of this line of desking. The minimalist aesthetic lends an understated elegance blended with high functionality to your executive and administrative spaces.
3. Chairs: Source International
Chairs are among the most important elements of a commercial office space, but finding the right one is a task often overlooked by employers. As an interior designer, you want to choose chairs that are the ideal fit for your clients.
If you’re looking for a Knoll executive chair, the Life Knoll wire chair is ergonomically designed with a variety of intuitive comfort settings and a flexing frame that adjusts to the body. Add a sleek design and a lightweight frame, and you have everything you need in an office chair.
Fortunately, there are some amazing open-line manufacturers out there that can give you all of those qualities and more. Source International, for example, specializes in sophisticated commercial design with fair pricing, offering you unbounded opportunities to take seating to a new level. Its strategy of providing elite design with aesthetics and quality typically associated with higher-priced brands makes it a driving force in alternative seating manufacturers.
One of our favorites is the Purl Task chair. The Purl is fully adjustable and comfortably padded to support pressure points. With a supportive but surprisingly comfortable knit back available in up to 17 colors to match your client’s branding, and an upholstered seat you can have covered in countless fabrics, this chair will maintain an atmosphere of elegance in any office. Plus, the Purl line includes coordinating guest and stool seating, allowing you to achieve a beautiful consistency throughout your space.
4. Storage: Great Openings
In small or well-staffed offices, storage space is often a concern. With big, clunky file cabinets becoming a thing of the past, many office employers are looking for more attractive alternatives to the storage problem.
Knoll’s solution is the Calibre storage and filing collection. Its storage systems are minimally designed, space efficient and ideal for re-organizing an office space. Knoll offers a variety of different kinds of storage, from open-face bookcases to smaller filing cabinets. Each piece is durable and designed to appeal to contemporary taste.
But pricing and selection can be an obstacle, which is where Great Openings comes in. This family-owned company has been around for 50 years and counting, priding itself on honest pricing models and long-lasting products that are made in America. It is known for its lean manufacturing and built-to-order process, to the extent that other manufacturers regularly tour its facility for benchmarking purposes.
Great Openings’ Cayenne line is designed to offer low-profile storage that is mounted on architectural legs and fits discreetly beneath the workspace. Cayenne brings an upscale and elegant design to a product traditionally thought of as a mundane necessity. These storage options can be used in a variety of settings, from small cubicles to open shared spaces. You can choose from dozens of finishes, drawer fronts and locks to match your designs, creating a stunning finished product.
5. Tables: Global Furniture Group
The right choice of table can vary remarkably depending on the unique needs of your client. An accounting firm, for example, may have needs different from a team of engineers, and their work style will directly influence the furniture you choose.
To meet the needs of a diverse workforce, the Antenna collection of Knoll tables and desks cover every scenario in the office. Customize the desk by height, leg style, shape and size to find just the right look for your space. You can also add casters and linking hardware for ultimate versatility. Knoll coffee tables create casual conversation spaces, while Knoll conference tables are suited to more formal meeting rooms.
Global Furniture Group offers these same benefits without the sticker shock and without restricting you to a closed line. Founded with the mission of offering well-made furniture at realistic prices, Global Furniture Group has stayed true to that mission to this day. With a vast multinational workforce and supply chain as well as close relationships with only the best dealers across the U.S., Global can meet most any need you have.
Global’s popular Bungee tables are the perfect choice for spaces that need flexibility, functionality, and clean lines. These space-efficient tables can be completely reconfigured by your client to adapt to changing needs—whether the organization simply needs to attach two tables or collapse them for easy storage. Choose from a number of geometric shapes and 20 color options to make the best use of the office space and unlock unlimited potential for your client’s staff. Add casters for mobility and choose the flip-top option for tables that nest and roll out of your way when you’re not using them or when you want them moved to a different space.
6. Lounge furniture: Arcadia
Not all work takes place behind a desk. Your client will have brainstorming sessions, interviews or even casual downtime that has to be accounted for in your office design. Commercial lounge seating should be comfortable, welcoming and an effective use of space.
Knoll makes the most of this criteria with the Florence Knoll Lounge Chair, which is a blend of mid-century modern and contemporary comfort that can be upholstered in either high-quality fabric or leather. The seats are designed to resist sagging or buckling, giving your client year after year of quality seating options in the office.
Arcadia has been active and growing since 1979 and has consistently offered premium, smartly constructed table and seating options for its customers. It prioritizes service, value and thoughtful design, which will transfer to your clients, keeping your project within budget and your clients happy.
One of Arcadia’s best offerings for lounge seating is the Achella Lounge. Having updated the mid-century look with fluid lines and multi-media constructions of metal, wood and upholstery, the company offers a variety of stylistic variations to match your design. This seating line will create a warm and welcoming lounge area within your office, whether it’s used for employee downtime or guests. With Arcadia, you can be confident that the details less service-oriented manufacturers overlook will have been thought about and taken care of in every product.
Next time you’re considering cutting your budget a little close to include Knoll furniture, or feeling exasperated by the thought of working with a manufacturer or a dealer who tends to forget how important service is, know that you have other, more viable, options. These six alternative companies will keep you safely within your limits, provide personal attention and give you an attractive, cutting-edge, commercial space to present to your clients without locking you into a contract.
Need a little help deciding? Our office space planners can help you choose just the right furniture for your office or project. Give us a call at 877.779.3409, or send us an email.
FREE CHECKLIST AIS vs THE “BIG” BRANDS
Download this free comparison, and find out if AIS is a good fit for your company.