Design 101 — 5 Facts About Florence Knoll

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Photo: Design Within Reach

Photo: Design Within Reach

If you’re a fan of vintage shopping but not an expert on the history of design, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re an avid vintage shopper, a first time customer, or just an admirer of beautifully constructed pieces, it’s always good to know some background about what you’re ogling. For instance, you’ve probably seen a few of Florence Knoll’s sofas on your latest scavenger hunt, and – if you’re like us – you’ve probably thought in your head, “I want that!” But there’s so much history behind this sofa you love. How much do you know about the woman responsible for designing and producing the iconic seating? Keep reading to learn some quick facts about one of the most important figures in interior design history!

1. Florence Knoll was born Florence Schust and was referred to as “Shu” within her circle of family and friends. It wasn’t until she married Hans Knoll in 1946 that she became the Florence Knoll name that we know today.

Photo: Krrb.com/11450?auto=format

Photo: Krrb.com/11450?auto=format

2. Florence Knoll received her degree in architecture from Armour Institute – today known as Illinois Institute of Technology. After graduating she worked for a short time in architecture beside some of the most formidable members of the Bauhaus movement, including Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Wallace K. Harrison.

Photo: Dedeceblog.com

Photo: Dedeceblog.com

3. In 1943 Florence convinced Hans to let her work for the Knoll furniture company. It was her plan to work with architects in expanding the business into interior design. She succeeded, and he was impressed. They ended up wedding in 1946, and Florence became a full business partner and co-founder of Knoll Associates.

Photo: Minimumblog.com

Photo: Minimumblog.com

4. After Han’s death in 1955, Florence took over the company and began to design the pieces of furniture herself. She wanted the furniture she designed not only to be viewed as furniture but also as an element of interior design. Designing furniture from the mind of an architect, Florence envisioned the composition of space (including the architecture and interior design) to be fluid. This vision later defined the brand, and her designs are still a part of the Knoll line today.

Photo: Blog.modernica.net

Photo: Blog.modernica.net

5. Knoll’s vision for office space was clean, uncluttered, and welcoming. As an architect, Florence’s most famous pieces are the Connecticut General Insurance building in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and the interior of the CBS Building in New York City.

Photo: Apartmenttherapy.com

Photo: Apartmenttherapy.com