Knolling is the process of arranging related objects in parallel or 90-degree angles as a method of organization. This artform began in Frank Gehry’s furniture fabrication shop in 1987 when a janitor organized loose tools at right angles, reminiscent of Gehry’s Knoll furniture. In 2009 Sculptor Tom Sachs, who spent time working at Gehry’s, made public his love of the art of knolling and adopted the mantra “Always be Knolling”. Knolling photography is popular today in advertising and social media, arranging objects in this way brings visual order to a collection of irregularly shaped or sized objects.
While introducing this lesson students viewed diverse examples of knolling photography and looked for connections between the images. Similarities students found helped them to define knolling for themselves and determined the project requirements.
Common theme among objects (items from desk, bag, same color, or related to an activity).
Even lighting with limited shadows.
Photographed from directly above.
Objects are organized in the shape of a rectangle.
What are the benefits of this project?
This is a great photography assignment because everyone can do it, immediately, and at their seat.
Photographs be critiqued objectively by their peers.
Teaches attention to detail, gives experience with order, balance, and composition.
Project is scalable, repeatable, and builds a skill while staying fresh.
Opportunity for self expression with personal objects or objects that express a point of view.
If knolling fits your orderly sensibility you may check out Things Organized Neatly and find just that.