Karen Stone is Director of Design for Knoll, Inc. Responsible for the design of Knoll Showrooms, exhibits and trade shows, Karen has had the additional responsibility for the direction and development of new product collections for Knoll. She is also responsible for bringing sustainable design, new materials and technologies to Knoll product design and establishing direction for new finishes for Knoll products.
She began her career at Knoll in 1991. Her award winning work with Knoll has been noted in ID, Domus, Interiors, Inside Design Now, and other publications. Prior to her work at Knoll, Karen was Senior Designer at Bonnell Design Associates (New York) where she worked on showroom designs, exhibits, interiors and signage for clients, including Interface, Guilford, Teknion, Steelcase, Design Tex, ModernAge, Shearson Lehman Hutton Plaza and Mellon Bank.
From 1984 to 1988, she was Showroom Designer for SunarHauserman, working with consultants such as Frank Gehry, Sottsass Associati and Michael Graves Architects. She began her career as an Interior Designer with Dyer/Brown (Boston) and Symmes, Maini and McKee (Cambridge, MA), beginning in 1981.
The New York offices of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) was designed by Knoll Design Director Karen Stone. Founded in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, CGI is a non-partisan “catalyst for action” that brings together a community of global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges.
Knoll joined the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX®) as part of the Company’s participation in the 2006 CGI Annual Meeting, a forum that includes discussions about Energy and Climate Change. CCX is the world’s first and North America’s only voluntary, legally binding rules-based greenhouse gas emissions reduction trading system. CCX facilitates the trading of “credits” that companies earn for achieving reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, as measured against baseline calculations. Knoll was the first contract furniture manufacturer to become a member of CCX.
This commitment requires “absolute reductions” in greenhouse gas emissions—which means that as production increases, new reduction opportunities are continually being identified and implemented.
Karen has worked on the design of stage sets for regional theater and enjoys abstract painting. Her formal training in music and music performance throughout her childhood, has had a tremendous influence on her current work in design. Her passion for experimenting with spatial relationships and objects in space developed at an early age.
In the fall of 1998, Karen began teaching three-dimensional abstract design within the Industrial Design Department at Pratt. Karen was Visiting Professor at Samsung Art and Design Institute, Seoul, South Korea, summer 2007. She has served as a juror for design competitions and leads talks on design to student groups. She has been a volunteer with the International Center, mentoring young designers who are seeking guidance in their pursuit of employment or study in design.
She also serves as part of the advisory board for Pratt Design Incubator. The Advisory Board is comprised of distinguished professionals committed to sustainability and social responsibility. Each board member brings their experience and energy to the Incubator, guiding and promoting the Incubator’s vision and mission. They are integral to the selection of incoming teams, strategic planning and overall governance of the Incubator.
Karen is a graduate of Ohio State University in Industrial Design (BS) and Pratt Institute Industrial Design (MID) and has also studied at Oxford University, England.