Florence Knoll was born in 1917 in Michigan USA and in her lifetime she was one of the greatest pioneers of modern designer furniture.
From an early age she developed a serious interest in Architecture.
Florence Knoll was enrolled at the Kingswood School for Girls, next to the Cranbrook Academy of Art which she later attended.
Florence Knoll became friends with Eilel Saarinen at Kingswood, and later she would study under him at Cranbrook.
Eilel Saarinen was a Finnish Architect famous for his work with Art Nouveau Buildings.
Florence Knoll enjoyed a close friendship with Eilel Saarinen and his family, especially Eero Saarinen, and she was invited to join the family on holidays.
This connection and her new circle of accomplished friends influenced Florence’s education and the development of her design ideas and ultimately her successful career.
Florence studied under Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology before moving to New York in 1941.
She met her husband Hans Knoll in New York and together they established a design and manufacturing furniture company producing some of the most influential and loved modern furniture ever produced.
The Knoll Furniture Company added contributions from Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, and Mies van der Rohe.
The Knoll brand gained International recognition and a prominent place in the History of Modern Designer Furniture.
Hans and Florence Knoll were a formidable partnership and created the revolutionary Knoll Planning Unit.
Hans was a great entrepreneur. Florence used her background in Architecture and Design in creating and furnishing an efficient space saving plan for modern offices.
The Knoll Planning Unit was commissioned by America’s largest corporations. IBM, GM and CBS commissioned Knoll to design their offices in the unique signature Knoll style.
Florence contributed her own modern furniture designer furniture to the Knoll Planning Unit.
Her modesty could not hide the incredible attention to detail in her designs and the wonderful understanding of the modern aesthetic she processed.
The work, in particular the Knoll Sofa and Armchairs are revered and celebrated as true masterpieces of modern designer furniture, and are as popular today as they were then.
Following the death of Hans Knoll in 1955, Florence took the position of President of Knoll for the next decade and retired in 1965.
The work of Florence Knoll and her individual contribution to Modernism is beyond calculation.