Florence (Basset) Knoll was considered a champion of world class architecture, designers and professional architects. The inclusive, holistic “total design” belief system she developed embraced architecture, in addition to manufacturing, textiles, interior design, graphics, presentation and advertising. As an exceptional architect herself, she revolutionized indoor space planning with the innovative designs of her time.
Her applied design principles were considered to be a radical departure from standard practices in the 1950s. Eventually, the industry recognized the innovative aspects of her work and the principles were used to solve space issues. Her designs and acumen have continued to stand the test of time as widely utilized solutions.
Born May 24, 1917, she became a protegee of Eero Saarinen while studying at the Kingswood School of Cranbrook Academy of Art located in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. She also studied architecture at London’s Architectural Association and Chicago’s Illinois Institute of Technology‘s Armour Institute. She has worked briefly for Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius and Wallace K. Harrison.
She subsequently married and became a full design and business partner of Hans Knoll and formed Knoll Associates in 1946.
Her contributions are considered to be extraordinary to the design and architecture fields. As a result, her talents have garnered her the following honors:
*National Endowment for the Arts’ 2002 National Medal of Arts
*Design Excellence Award in 2004
*The Total Design Award from the American Society of Interior Designers in 1977
*IBD Award, Silver for the Florence Knoll Collection’s Table Desk in 1970
*Design Center Stuttgart Award, West Germany for the Florence Knoll Collection’s Table Desk 1969-70
*Gold Medal for Industrial Design from the American Institute of Architects in 1961
*American Institute of Interior Designers First Award for the Florence Knoll Collection’s Low Tables in 1954
The company she founded with her husband, Knoll Associates, has become an internationally recognized design leader. Under her vision, the company has been credited with inspiring work place furnishings characterized by their evolving and enduring aspects.
Florence Knoll’s commitment to innovative and modern designs has contributed to an extensive portfolio of furnishings related to seating, office systems, files and storage, desks, tables, wood case goods, textiles and accessories. Many of her design products are featured in major art exhibitions and museums across the world. Over forty Knoll design pieces are continually exhibited in the permanent Design Collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art.