Meet the most popular Instagram trend that you’ve never heard of. It’s called ‘knolling’ and you already love it.
The term ‘knolling’ was coined, 1987
The word ‘knolling’, which literally means organizing objects at right angles, was first used in 1987 by Andrew Kromelow, a janitor at Frank Gehry’s furniture fabrication shop. Kromelow used to arrange his displaced tools at right angles on all surfaces, and called this routine knolling, because the tools were arranged in right angles — similar to Knoll furniture.
Tom Sachs’ 10 Bullets Manifesto, 2009
Although Kromelow continued using the practice, it didn’t gain public popularity until 2009. Sculptor Tom Sachs (who spent time working with Kromelow at Gehrys) made public his love of the art of knolling and adopted “Always be Knolling” as his studio mantra.
Todd Selby on Tom Sachs, 2010
In June 2008, director and photographer Todd Selby started his creative project ‘The Selby‘ in which he photographed creatives, artists and mavericks in their spaces. In 2010 Todd met with Tom Sachs to get an insight into his world. Of course, knolling features. If you weren’t already a fan of Tom Sachs — be prepared to be dazzled. This guy is a legend.
Things Organized Neatly, 2010
Started in April 2010 by Austin Radcliffe, the Things Organized Neatly blog has become a cult fixture for knollers everywhere. The Indianapolis-based designer has been accepting submissions to his blog for five years a now and is even releasing a book so others can enjoy his serious appreciation of order.
90 Degrees — An Experience About Knolling by Andrew Kim, 2013
In 2013, Andrew Kim managed to write an 89 page book on knolling. His book ‘creative experience’ advises readers on how to knoll, and how to map the world via knolling.
Details Magazine, 2014
Styled by Phillip Shubin, this kitchenware shoot featured in Details magazine directly applied the principles of knolling (Phillip, a professional prop styler by trade, gave credit to ‘Godfather Knoll’ Tom Sachs on his blog.)
Flat Lays on Instagram, 2014
In 2014, Instagram became the unofficial home of knolling. Everyone from bloggers to brands were spotted arranging things very neatly and photographing them from above. The Flat Lays Instagram already has nearly 20K followers (at our last count) which serves as a sign that knolling is as popular as ever.
Margaret Zhang, 2014
Blogger Margaret Zhang could be considered the queen of knolling (at least in the blogging world). She admits she’s obsessed with ‘wardrobe tetris’, organizes ‘flat lay parties’. Her knolling Instagram’s are some of her most popular.
Refinery 29, 2015
Knolling has also transcended the world of food — Refinery29 recently taught us how to ‘style our salad’ — with a beautifully knolled picture of ingredients.
Mr Porter, 2015
The most popular re-appropriation of knolling is, of course, by brands. MR PORTER consistently curate top quality ‘knolls’ to show off editors picks, new-in items and packing lists. From hardware to high fashion — knolling is fashion’s new favorite form — and it doesn’t appear to be going anywhere anytime soon.
Featured image: Paul Hamilton