At #NeoCon09: Desk #2 by Knú

Joining the many illustrious furniture manufacturers at NeoCon09 is Knú (meaning and language unknown). The one thing to be said about Knú is that it isn’t the same as gnu. For anyone who remembers the wildebeest reporter from The Great Space Coaster, the Gnu refrain does not hold up for Knú: “No gnews is good gnews with Gary Gnu.” In fact, for Knú, news is good—and they’ve gotten their fair share of it from magazines and websites such as Men’s Journal and This Old House.

Desk #2. Manufactured by Knú.

One of the reasons that Knú gets so much coverage is due to the company’s melding of contemporary design and sustainable building. A member of the Sustainable Furniture Council, Michigan-based Knú abides by the SFC motto: “People, Planet, Profit.” Their contemporary designs bring in the profits while their eco-friendly policies value the planet—while both Knú’s style and philosophy benefit people. Knú markets their products solely online: they refuse to produce catalogs, relying instead on smart consumers. At their West Michigan plant, they use energy-saving lighting and heat. All of their materials come from local sources—in fact, most raw materials do not travel farther than 50 miles: “Built in the USA and built to last.” As far as I can tell, Knú uses an accent solely for its exotic connotations. They certainly do not use exotic wood; instead, Knú relies on poplar from sustainable plantations. Non-toxic stains then create the appearance of exotic wood. If all of this earth-conscious activity doesn’t seem grand enough, Knú also plants a tree for every piece of furniture sold. All well and good, you may be thinking, but what does their furniture look like?


Desk #2. Manufactured by Knú.


Lateral file and bookcase. Manufactured by Knú.

The easy answer is good. By using tubular steel legs in a generously bowed bend, Knú achieves an entire line of furniture that’s recognizable and consistent. With smooth veneers in an array of finishes and curved tops, the Knú pieces look polished. Their Desk #2 illustrates the company’s stylish design. Like small-scale mid-century desks (the Nelson Swag Leg comes to mind), Knú’s Desk #2 (which reminds me of that very serious pencil) economizes space. A reasonable 35 x 48 inches, Desk #2 is eminently practical: its cubbyholes hold anything from paperclips to staplers (one fits up to a 17″ laptop and comes with a wire-management grommet); its top shelf is large enough for a telephone or printer; and its sliding drawer holds the small stuff. Did I mention the nickel-plated levelers?

Especially eye-catching in pure white with chocolate accents, Desk #2 also comes in ash, cherry, ebony, maple, walnut, and wenge veneers. Knú’s Desk #2 could and should be used in hotels—its size works well in standard rooms. For improvised offices in foyers or hallways, Desk #2 will also do the trick. It’s also a good option for teenagers and the college-bound, who will test Knú’s durability. Whoever falls for Desk #2 will surely admire its legs, which give the desk the appearance of movement. All of Knú’s furniture works these dynamic legs—this explains the company’s maxim: “inanimate motion in crisp sustainable form.”

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