Simple Pleasures of Being Neat Freaks

At Brimstones & Treacle we’ve been thrilled to witness the recent re-awakening of pride taken in neatness. In particular comes to mind one of our favourite blogs, Things Organized Neatly curated by Austin Radcliffe, and additionally the image-sharing service Pinterest that has become frequently visited to fulfil our pleasure in tidiness,  by collecting photos of orderly arranged things on “pinboards” that are themselves neatly organised.

You can picture our delight on learning that 2012 is the 25th anniversary of the invention of the word “knolling”, defined as “the process of arranging like objects in parallel or 90-degree angles as a method of organisation”. The term first coined in 1987 by Andrew Kromelow, a caretaker at Frank Gehry’s furniture fabrication shop. At this point in 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 resulting in organized surfaces that allow the user to see all objects at once. The principle of Knolling has further developed by the American sculptor Tom Sachs who spent two years in Gehry’s shop as a fabricator and adopted use of the term from Kromelow and is now integral to his process “Always be Knolling”




  1. Scan your environment for materials, tools, books, music, etc. which are not in use.
  2. Put away everything not in use. If you aren’t sure, leave it out.
  3. Group all ‘like’ objects.
  4. Align or square all objects to either the surface they rest on, or the studio itself.

For B&T, organisation is key to us as designers and collectors, whether it be arranging found inspiration, materials, or ideas, so it seems we’ve been Knoller’s all this time without knowing it…

Posted by Brimstones.


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