Knoll - American Modern Furniture Movement Icon

Knoll - American Modern Furniture Movement Icon


Intriguing History and Facts about Knoll Associates and Florence Knoll


Florence Knoll Bassett Florence Knoll Bassett

Origins In The Bauhaus School of Design

The originator of today's idea of interior designing is Knoll Associates, creator of Knoll furniture. This innovative company began with a passion for furniture during the schooling of Hans G. Knoll in Germany. His father pioneered modern furniture, and Haus found himself immersed in the Bauhaus school of design. He moved to New York City and founded his own furniture business in 1938. Nestled in a second-story space on East 72nd Street, the business began to bloom. Hans met Florence Schust during World War II, and married her in 1946. The two began searching for a larger area to build a factory, finding necessary space in East Greenville, Pennsylvania, where the headquarters remain today.


Founders of American Modern Furniture

Womb Chair Womb Chair

A Designer-Friendly Culture

Knoll Associates stands out in its commitment to the environment and to its designers. The original founders of Knoll furniture believed that designers deserved recognition and royalties, a practice that continues today. The company also remains a pioneer in Clean Technology, reusing materials when possible and reducing waste. They are also innovators in office furniture, thanks to Florence Knoll's impressive resume. She was a designer and space planner who interacted extensively with clients to meet every need. She coined the company's phrase, "good design is good business", and she lived it through every transaction.


Florence Knoll Credenza Tulip Arm Chair

Florence Knoll - A Pioneer In Design And Women Entrepreneurs

Florence Knoll Basset is noted as a pioneer in the interior design field. She was a successful entrepreneur, and has become among the most influential post-war designers. She studied at Cranbrook Academy of Art and Kingswood in the 30's, gaining a feel for her marked human-centered approach to design. She originated the idea of paste-ups in London, later adding a rationalist approach to her designs after spending time in Chicago.


Saarinen Dining Table Saarinen Dining Table

Transforming Interior Design and Planning

This lovely lady blazed a trail in interior design, taking control of an area mostly dominated by men in the 50's. She ran the Knoll Planning Unit, transforming the idea of interior design to today's spacial architecture. She also contributed to overall ideas in textiles, furniture, and graphics for mass-produced Knoll products. Her ideas remain relevant in the world of interior design.


Saarinen Dining knoll-table-chairs Saarinen Dining Table

A Wholistic Approach For Designing Living Spaces

Her ideas came from a place of practicality. She developed her signature furniture through applying design basics to empty space in corporate office spaces. The range of services she offered to clients represented a stark difference to traditional interior design services in the 50's, which helped her stand out in the business. Instead of selling ready-made pieces, she considered the whole client. She believed that interior design needed to reach beyond simply filling a space with furniture. Design needed to discover the very root of what the client needed in a living space. Planning, for Florence, was an all-encompassing act, combining budget, comfort, efficiency, and taste. She did not want to simply sell furniture. She wanted to transform environments.


Florence Knoll Credenza Florence Knoll Credenza

Florence Knoll - A Lasting Legacy That Influences Modern Furniture Design To This Day

Knoll Basset resigned from Knoll Associates in 1965, at the top of her field. At merely 48 years old, she had redefined the idea of corporate interior spaces, made a deep mark on post-war designs, set precedence in ethical standards, and impressed upon the field the idea of open office work spaces. She is among the few people who have received recognition from all American professional organizations in architecture and design. She was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2002, which is the highest award given to any artist by the Federal government. She is widely studied throughout design school, and her ideas continue to be used today. The company she helped build remains strong and maintains her basic ideas, along with the designs she helped develop.

Florence Knoll Basset innovated the basics of terrific interior design through simplicity and consideration for the client. She believed in working with fresh talent, embracing contemporary art ideas, and creating human-centered designs, as opposed to product-centered. When she began working with Knoll Associates, few businesses were doing what she did. Now, businesses all over the world are copying her model for sales. She believed in living what she built, using her own offices as models for customer demonstrations. Florence Knoll Basset paved the way for interior design, for women in the field, and for a more client-centric foundation to office spaces.


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