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florence knoll

  • Happy 100th Birthday to Florence Knoll

    Last week marked the 100th birthday of Florence Knoll whose signature style and pioneering spirit are at the core of everything Knoll. Her influence on the "total design" sensibility of Knoll cannot be overstated. Florence broadened the company’s existing array of furniture offerings, developed the Knoll Planning Unit, an interior design division of the company that set the standard for the mid-century modern interior, and in 1947 she launched a textile program to fill another gap she perceived in the market for furniture upholstery. This would later become KnollTextiles.

     

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    Florence Knoll's early life was marred by tragedy when she was orphaned at age 12. After boarding school Florence enrolled at the Cranbrook Academy of Art where she met Harry Bertoia, who would also collaborate with Knoll on modern furniture designs. During her formative years studying architecture in Chicago, Florence met many of the leading architects of the time, including Alvar Aalto, Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe.

    In 1941 she met Hans Knoll who was the third generation of a Stuttgart-based furniture manufacturing family, who sought to bring European Modernism to a new audience in the United States. They married in 1946 and renamed the company Knoll Associates.

    With a spare, geometric profile—an expression of the rational design approach Florence Knoll learned from her mentor, Mies van der Rohe—the Relaxed Lounge Sofa is utterly modern and totally timeless. Compared to the standard Florence Knoll Lounge Collection, the Relaxed Edition offers a softer version, with deeper proportions for a more relaxed sit. With a spare, geometric profile—an expression of the rational design approach Florence Knoll learned from her mentor, Mies van der Rohe—the Relaxed Lounge Sofa is utterly modern and totally timeless. Compared to the standard Florence Knoll Lounge Collection, the Relaxed Edition offers a softer version, with deeper proportions for a more relaxed sit.

     

    In 1945 Florence Knoll started The Planning Unit, an interior design division of the furniture company that set the standard for the mid-century modern interior. Florence Knoll’s meticulous methods of assessing a client’s needs were clear in her sketches, annotations, and especially the "paste-up" cardboard models she used to demonstrate envisioned spaces.

    Finding the marketing lacking, Florence Knoll also designed individual pieces of furniture. "I needed a piece of furniture, it was not there, so I designed it." - Florence Knoll.

    The Florence Knoll Executive Desk exudes executive quality and epitomizes Mies van der Rohe’s impact on Florence’s approach to design. Each detail was endlessly refined to achieve simple, seemingly effortless beauty. Available in six table top finishes. The Florence Knoll Executive Desk exudes executive quality and epitomizes Mies van der Rohe’s impact on Florence’s approach to design. Each detail was endlessly refined to achieve simple, seemingly effortless beauty. Available in six table top finishes.

    Florence Knoll's Credenza Collection is perfectly proportioned and immaculately detailed. The iconic Florence Knoll Credenza works as well in the dining room as it does in the office. Florence Knoll's Credenza Collection is perfectly proportioned and immaculately detailed. The iconic Florence Knoll Credenza works as well in the dining room as it does in the office.

     

    In 1947, Florence Knoll  launched a textile program to fill another gap she perceived in the market for furniture upholstery. This would later become KnollTextiles. "It became apparent to me that suitable textiles were not available for our furniture and interiors," she wrote.

    Florence's use of small fabric swatches—the simple but effective practice of stapling fabric samples to pieces of cardboard—in client presentations led her to develop a tagged sample and display system that eventually became an industry standard. Florence's use of small fabric swatches—the simple but effective practice of stapling fabric samples to pieces of cardboard—in client presentations led her to develop a tagged sample and display system that eventually became an industry standard.

     

    In the early 1950s, under Florence Knoll's stewardship, the company developed a distinctive graphic identity, collaborating with Swiss photographer and graphic designer Herbert Matter to design everything from advertisements and stationery to the company’s distinctive logo.

    But in 1955, her life was struck by a second tragedy when Hans Knoll was killed in an automobile accident and she suddenly found herself as Knoll’s sole owner. In 1957 she married again and continued in her capacity as Knoll's president and later as its director of design, but eventually sold the company to Art Metal Construction Company in 1959. Even after her departure from Knoll, the company continued to be inspired by her synthetic view of design and rigorous standards.

    To celebrate a century of Florence Knoll and her inspired brand of modernism, Knoll expanded the Florence Knoll Collection with the addition of new and archival products.

    Revived from the Knoll product archive 70 years after its initial introduction, Florence Knoll’s Model 75 Stool is now available as the Knoll Hairpin Stacking Table. The early design was based on her wire studies done while a student at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, which were eventually translated into the immensely popular design for Knoll. Revived from the Knoll product archive 70 years after its initial introduction, Florence Knoll’s Model 75 Stool is now available as the Knoll Hairpin Stacking Table. The early design was based on her wire studies done while a student at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, which were eventually translated into the immensely popular design for Knoll.

     

    In 2002, Florence Knoll Bassett was awarded the National Medal of the Arts, the highest honor for achievement in the field presented annually by the President of the United States. In 2002, Florence Knoll Bassett was awarded the National Medal of the Arts, the highest honor for achievement in the field presented annually by the President of the United States.

     

    In the lasting acclaim for the planning projects she spearheaded and the pieces of furniture she quietly designed, Florence Knoll has continually proven her own mantra—that "good design is good business."

    Support creativity and help protect the history of design and the future of innovation - always buy original and authentic designs.

    For Canadian customers interested in modern furniture, lighting and accessories, please go to our Canadian site, GRShop.com

  • Knoll Classics Sale - 15% off + free delivery

    The Knoll Classics Sale has begun. Until February 28th you can save 15% and receive free delivery on the iconic designs of Eero Saarinen, Harry Bertoia, Florence Knoll, Mies van der Rohe and others.  They are as exciting today as they were at their introduction.

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    The Florence Knoll Collection

    Florence Knoll humbly referred to her furniture designs as “meat and potatoes” — filler between the standout pieces of Bertoia, Mies, and Saarinen. Sixty-five years later her furniture is anything but filler. Her attention to detail, eye for proportion, and command of the modern aesthetic resulted in some of the most celebrated furniture of the modern era.

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    The Eero Saarinen Collection

    From the late 1940s through the 1950s, Eero Saarinen designed many of the most recognizable Knoll pieces, including the Tulip Chair and Pedestal Table, the Womb Chair, and the Executive Seating Collection. His designs used modern materials in graceful ways, helping establish the identity of Knoll during their formative years. Today they contribute greatly to the Knoll Classics Collection.

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    The Mies van der Rohe Collection

    Renowned architect Mies van der Rohe mentored a young Florence Knoll while she was a student at Illinois Institute of Technology. Florence has always credited Mies as her most influential instructor and, in 1948, Mies granted Knoll exclusive rights to produce his furniture, including the Barcelona Collection and the Brno Chair.

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    The Harry Bertoia Collection

    Hans and Florence never demanded that Bertoia design furniture when they gave him a studio in an early Knoll factory. They simply asked that he show them if he arrived at something interesting. He arrived at something outstanding. Introduced in 1952, the Bertoia Collection remains one of the great achievements of modern design.

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    The Warren Platner Collection

    Originally introduced by Knoll in 1966, the Platner Collection represents the designer's attempt to infuse modernism with "the kind of decorative, gentle, graceful kind of design that appeared in period style, like Louis XV". In celebration of the the 50th anniversary, the Platner Collection is now available with an 18k gold-plated finish.

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    The Marcel Breuer Collection

    While at the Bauhaus, Marcel Breuer revolutionized the modern vocabulary with his tubular steel furniture. His first designs — inspired by bicycle construction and fabricated using the techniques of local plumbers — are among the most influential and important of the modern movement.

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    The Jens Risom Collection

    Jens Risom joined the Hans Knoll Furniture Company in the early 1940s as the sole designer of interiors and furniture. Working ingeniously within the constraints of wartime material shortages, Risom designed his eponymous collection of chairs and tables using essentially scraps of wood and rejected nylon straps from parachute production.

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    The George Nakashima Collection

    Consistent with his renowned handcrafted work, the furniture Nakashima designed for Knoll in the 1940s balances the modern aesthetic with a deep respect for the inherent beauty of natural wood.

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    The Pollock Collection

    Both Charles Pollock chair designs for Knoll demonstrate his command of line, form and material. The 657 Arm Chair was reintroduced in 2014 to rejoin the Executive Chair and complete the Pollock Collection.

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    Beware of fakes and "replicas". Support creativity and help protect the history of design and the future of innovation - always buy original and authentic designs.

    For Canadian customers interested in modern furniture, lighting and accessories, please go to our Canadian site, GRShop.com

  • Knoll Classics Sale - Enjoy 15% off + free delivery - Feb 20 - March 3

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    Knoll's reputation for design integrity has a long and decorated history under the guiding principle: "good design is good business." For over 75 years, Knoll has created mid-century modern furnishings that inspire, evolve and endure. Take advantage of significant savings and choose from hundreds of fabrics and finishes to make these iconic pieces your own.

    Here are some highlights of the Knoll Classics Collections:

    The Eero Saarinen Collection - including the Saarinen Pedestal Tables, Tulip Chairs, Saarinen Executive Chairs and, of course, The Womb Chair.

    Designed by Eero Saarinen in 1957, the Tulip Chair is available with arms (as shown) or without arms. The dining and coffee pedestal tables are as popular as ever! Designed by Eero Saarinen in 1957, the Tulip Chair is available with arms (as shown) or without arms. The dining and coffee pedestal tables are as popular as ever!

     

    The Mies van der Rohe Collection - including the Barcelona Chair, Table, Couch and Stool as well as the Brno Chairs, originally designed for the Villa Tugendhat.

    The Knoll Mies Van Der Rohe Barcelona Lounge Chair, designed in 1929, is produced to Mies' original specifications and stamped with his signature. The Knoll Mies Van Der Rohe Barcelona Lounge Chair, designed in 1929, is produced to Mies' original specifications and stamped with his signature. The Knoll Mies Van Der Rohe Barcelona Lounge Chair, designed in 1929, is produced to Mies' original specifications and stamped with his signature. The Knoll Mies Van Der Rohe Barcelona Lounge Chair, designed in 1929, is produced to Mies' original specifications and stamped with his signature.

     

    The Harry Bertoia Collection - the entire Harry Bertoia Collection, including the iconic Diamond Chair, the Bird Chair and the Bertoia Side Chair.

    Part of Harry Bertoia's exceptionally artistic 1952 seating collection sculpted from bent metal rods, the Bertoia Bird High Back Chair enhances virtually any environment. Part of Harry Bertoia's exceptionally artistic 1952 seating collection sculpted from bent metal rods, the Bertoia Bird High Back Chair enhances virtually any environment.

     

    The Florence Knoll Collection - including her eponymous Lounge Collection, Credenzas, and Tables.

    Designed in 1954 by Florence Knoll, this collection is available in many of the Knoll Textile collection fabrics. Designed in 1954 by Florence Knoll, this collection is available in many of the Knoll Textile collection fabrics.

     

    The Warren Platner Collection - including the Platner Lounge Chair, Arm Chair and Dining Table.

    In the 1960s, Warren Platner transformed steel wire into a sculptural furniture collection, creating what is now considered a design icon of the modern era. In the 1960s, Warren Platner transformed steel wire into a sculptural furniture collection, creating what is now considered a design icon of the modern era.

     

    The Richard Schultz Collection - including the 1966 Collection and the Petal Table Collection.

    The Petal Table is available in vertical grain natural teak and white HPDE (High Density Polyurethane). It is available as a coffee table, a dining table and an end table. The Petal Table is available in vertical grain natural teak and white HPDE (High Density Polyurethane). It is available as a coffee table, a dining table and an end table.

     

    The Marcel Breuer Collection - including the iconic Wassily Chair and Laccio Tables.

    Marcel Breuer was an apprentice at the Bauhaus in 1925 when he conceived the first tubular steel chair, the Wassily Chair, based on the tubed frame of a bicycle. Marcel Breuer was an apprentice at the Bauhaus in 1925 when he conceived the first tubular steel chair, the Wassily Chair, based on the tubed frame of a bicycle.

     

    The Jens Risom Collection - including the iconic web-backed Side and Lounge Chairs.

    Jens Risom's original 1941 collection for Knoll incorporates a natural aesthetic characteristic of understated Scandinavian design. Jens Risom's original 1941 collection for Knoll incorporates a natural aesthetic characteristic of understated Scandinavian design.

     

    The George Nakashima Collection - including the Straight Chair and Splay Leg Table.

    Originally designed for Knoll in the 1940s, the Straight Chair by George Nakashima is a Modernist take on the traditional Windsor chair. Featuring natural, low-sheen finishes and live wood grain patterns, the Straight Chair epitomizes Nakashima and his craft. Originally designed for Knoll in the 1940s, the Straight Chair by George Nakashima is a Modernist take on the traditional Windsor chair. Featuring natural, low-sheen finishes and live wood grain patterns, the Straight Chair epitomizes Nakashima and his craft.

     

    The Charles Pollock Collection - including the Pollock Executive Chair and the newly reintroduced Pollock Model 657 Arm Chair or Sling Lounge Chair.

    Charles Pollock's 1963 executive chair and the Model 657 Arm Chair or Sling Chair exemplify Pollock's honest approach to design. Charles Pollock's 1963 executive chair and the Model 657 Arm Chair or Sling Chair exemplify Pollock's honest approach to design.

     

    Knoll invests in extensive research, field studies, customer collaborations and partners with experts from the fields of architecture, organizational behavior, technology and business management to ensure that its products adapt and respond to the evolving needs of their customers.

    Environmental needs and requirements are not overlooked by Knoll either. Knoll is considered a leader in production practices that reduce waste, conserve natural resources and protect the biosphere.

    For Canadian customers interested in modern furniture, lighting and accessories, please go to our Canadian site, GRShop.com

     

     

     

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