Q & A with George Freedman @ Knoll 75th Anniversary Dinner

Q & A with George Freedman @ Knoll 75th Anniversary Dinner

dedece showroom

knoll modern always


As part of Knolls 75th anniversary celebrations, dedece together with Woven Image invited special guests to an exclusive dinner and Q & A with George Freedman.

To mark this special occasion, dedece asked George ( who had worked in Knoll’s International planning unit ) to curate dedece’s Sydney 1st Floor showroom space – incorporating both Knoll’s & Knoll Textiles iconic design collections.



George Freedman occupies a unique position within architecture and interior design in Sydney.

He has orchestrated numerous commissions each maintaining a paramount standard.

at the core of his approach is a love of history of design and a concern for personal expression: 2 aspects which have make his projects stand out !!

Importantly, George has also fostered the careers of many young architects and designers now enjoying success within their own practices




dinner menu





The evening was a great opportunity for those dinner guests to view the showroom and discuss with George ” his life in design” in an intimate and relaxed environment.



About George Freedman

George was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1936.

He studied architecture at Syracuse University, New York

His work in New York in the early 60s with Kahn & Jacobs Architects included interiors for the American Airlines passenger terminal at John F Kennedy Airport, formerly Idlewild Airport.

He later lived in Spain, Amsterdam and London, working as an artist,

He joined Knoll International in the UK in 1968

He was sent to Sydney in 1969 by Knoll International to create ( with Neville Marsh) the dramatic interiors (including the lobby with the gold-leaf plaster ceiling) for the State Bank of NSW’s ( now Westpac ) executive offices and boardroom floors ( The work was commissioned by Nick Whitlam )

He stayed on and joined Neville Marsh Interiors to become Marsh Freedman & Associates in 1971

During the 1980s Freedman became a Sydney celebrity for his designs for Kinselas and Bilson’s restaurants; other Freedman restaurant projects included Chez Oz and Senso Unico.

His firm, Marsh Freedman, & Associates also did much of the building interiors at the Powerhouse Museum.

george freedman 1986

george freedman 1986

He is a lover of vivid, varied and inventive colours.

He has many private clients whose names are kept under wraps, but they included John Nankervis, Barry Humphries, Clyde Packer, James Fairfax .

His style is modernist-based and he does not believe in “do’s and don’ts” in his work.

George says interior design has to go beyond the functional.

“I’ve been told attempts have been made to imitate my work. I think that’s a great compliment,” he says.

George Freedman remains one of Sydney’s most wanted and admired interior designers.




The evening’s discussion covered some interesting ideas and issues –  eg

The travesty surrounding the demolition of the “iconic modernism contained in the State Banks Centre executive offices fitout”  upon change of tenant

Significant changes in the levels of female participation in the design workforce – from the mid 1970’s through to present day

The contribution of Marsh Freedman to the design profession in Australia

George’s style of mentoring younger designers – as recounted by the guests present

Georges ability to develop sophisticated colour schemes for various architectural projects by Peter Stronach and Glenn Murcutt

Genuine collaborative nature of George’s design involvement with others

George even recounted the story about how he used to always wear bow ties to work in his first architectural job until one day a client advised his Architectural Manager that he was not to return to the Client if he was to wear bow ties in the future

bow ties

Working fluidly within the corporate, commercial retail and residential architectural context, George Freedman has made a meaningful impact in his time

Freedman’s early work in Sydney was mainly commissioned by corporate customers but he quickly established a reputation and wide connections.



Many of the Guests on the night are highly regarded Architects and Designers who had been mentored by George or worked with or for George, during his time as a Partner in Marsh Freedman & Associates, Sydney.

As expected much of the night was spent recounting memories of their formative design years during the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s, as well as hearing about George’s earlier project work for Knoll’s International Planning Unit and later with Marsh Freedman & Associates.


monument magazine No 7 1995

glenn murcutt letter


George Freedman in Australia 

1968 Neville Marsh Interiors established
1969 George Freedman arrives in Australia
1970 George Freedman joins Neville Marsh Interiors
1972 Partnership Pacific Sydney
1973 Marsh Freedman Associates established
1973 Her Majesty’s Theatre Sydney collaboration with Syd Baggs Architect
1974 Hoyts Theatres Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth
1980 Five Ways Fusion Fashion Boutique Sydney
1981 Price Waterhouse and Partners Sydney
1981 Kinselas Theatre Restaurant collaboration with Glen Murcutt and Michael Davies
1983 Leightons Holdings Sydney
1983 Order Imports Sydney
1984 Ralph Rembel joins Marsh Freedman Associates
1985 State Bank of New South Wales Executive Offices, Board Accommodation and Garden Level
1986 Powerhouse Museum Sydney
1986 Apple Computers collaboration with Allen Jack and Cottier Sydney
1987 George Freedman Architects established
1987 Claude’s Restaurant Sydney
1988 Australian Pavilion Expo ’88 collaboration with Anchor Mortlock and Woolley
1988 Kraanerg set design for Sydney Dance Company
1988 Bilson’s a la Carte Restaurant Sydney
1990 Knoll Showroom Sydney
1991 Marsh Freedman Associates becomes George Freedman Associates
1991 Soft Bruising set design for Sydney Dance Company
1983 Macquarie Bank Executive Offices collaboration with Allen Jack and Cottier
1993 Penrith Panthers Leagues Club collaboration with Gazzard Sheldon Architects
1996 Ralph Rembel becomes Partner at George Freedman Associates
1998 Ampersand Restaurant Sydney
2000 Mythologia set design for Sydney Dance Company
2002 George Freedman Associates becomes Freedman Rembel
2003 Queen Victoria Building Master Plan collaboration with Anchor Mortlock and Woolley Sydney
2004 Medina Grand Perth
2004 Quay Restaurant Sydney
2005 Freedman Rembel wins RAIA Commendation for Interior Architecture 2005
2007 Buon Ricordo Ristorante, Sydney
PBL Ground Floor Lobby, Sydney
Qualia Resort, Hamilton Island, Queensland
2010 Joined PTW as Head of Interior Design


Interview with George Freedman by Graham Foreman for Monument Magazine No 7 1995


interview george freedman 1

interview george freedman 2

interview george freedman 3

Dedece Sydney’s Knoll showroom – curated by George Freedman




the age jan 31 1986

the age jan 31 1986



About Knoll


Since Knoll’s founding in 1938, design integrity has been its’ guiding principle as it offers insights into the way business is changing and into whats possible—now and for the future.

Florence Knoll changed the world’s conception of how to decorate an office space with her innovative, art-centered and Bauhaus-inspired notions about functional design

Knoll continures to believe that  ” Good Design is Good Business.”

knoll product icons

Knoll’s 75 year commitment to modern design has yielded a comprehensive portfolio of furniture products and textiles designed to provide enduring value and help clients shape their workspaces with imagination and vision.

Knoll has been recognized as a design leader worldwide.

Knoll’s products are exhibited in major art museums, with more than 40 pieces in the permanent Design Collection of The Museum of Modern Art in New York.

knoll designers

Share your thoughts