A Bit of the Whole of Well Known Knoll

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Knoll has been crafting intelligently designed furniture since its founding 72 years ago and has become one of the world’s leaders in the design industry. Mies van der Rohe’s tufted Barcelona chair, Warren Platner’s sculpted wire table collection, and Marcel Breuer’s eleather strapped Wassily chair. These are a few of the widely recognizable, award winning pieces that have not only made their way into museum collections but are exclusively manufactured by Knoll.

Hans Knoll was influenced in his youth by his father’s furniture production business. It must run in the genes. Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe had a few blueprints straight from Bauhaus School for Hans’ father, Walter, who diligently produced prototypes for these legends of design.

Hans Knoll was eventually to leave Germany and land in the Big Apple where he would found Knoll Furniture in 1938. By ’46 Hans married his three year working companion, the brilliant and beautiful Florence Schust. A well schooled architect with good connections, Florence would prove to be an invaluable business partner. The same year they married Knoll Associates was incorporated. Their years together were spent building the company’s reputation by specifically combining the fields of architecture and furniture production. Who else but an architect could design furniture that is functional, aesthetically pleasing and moreover, built to last like buildings?

After the sudden death of Hans Knoll in 1955, Florence took the helm of the company and continued her work with some of the most influential architects of the 20th century, including Eero Saarinen (pictured above with Florence). The genius who would design the Saint Louis Gateway Arch had a remarkable influence at Knoll with the creation of the Tulip chairs, a series of round and oval tables, and the iconic womb chair.

Florence Knoll won many awards with her own designs thus proving that the Knoll brand was truly in good hands. Knoll operates and manufactures still to this day in America and is represented in dealerships around the world. Knoll’s commitment to innovation propels the company forward and its firm belief in the preservation of classic modern design makes Knoll one of our favorites.

For more of the Knoll story, interviews, history and an unprecedented look inside the Knoll philosophy check out the Rizzoli published Knoll: A Modernist Universe.

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