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  • 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

  • Introducing the Knoll Pilot Lounge Chair

    It is always exciting when a new chair debuts and the Knoll Pilot Lounge Chair designed by the British team of Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby is very exciting. Marrying visual and material lightness with exceptional comfort, the Pilot Chair is an innovative swivel lounge chair with a striking, slim profile, equally suited for the home or office.

    Available in both high and low back versions as well as a range of leather and fabric upholstery options, the Pilot Chair is a versatile lounge chair that can be adapted to match the aesthetics of any setting. It is available armless, or with upholstered, or steel loop arm options and painted grey or polished aluminum base finishes. Pilot is an endlessly customizable chair. Available in both high and low back versions as well as a range of leather and fabric upholstery options, the Pilot Chair is a versatile lounge chair that can be adapted to match the aesthetics of any setting. It is available armless, or with upholstered, or steel loop arm options and painted grey or polished aluminum base finishes. Pilot is an endlessly customizable chair.

    The designers of the Pilot Lounge Chair, Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby, are well-versed in the delicate art of balancing tradition with innovation. "When designing for a company like Knoll, one continuously wonders how to place new ideas into such an iconic collection," they commented. "Our new Pilot Chair not only responds to today’s needs, but also offers an elegant, innovative design for a different culture." The designers of the Pilot Lounge Chair, Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby, are well-versed in the delicate art of balancing tradition with innovation. "When designing for a company like Knoll, one continuously wonders how to place new ideas into such an iconic collection," they commented. "Our new Pilot Chair not only responds to today’s needs, but also offers an elegant, innovative design for a different culture."

     

    The Knoll Pilot Lounge Chair offers a choice of a high or low back seat which features a unique upholstery substructure for greater flexibility, appears to float in the air, giving the chair a refined silhouette and an essential, timeless appeal.

    Here is the high back Pilot Chair, with upholstered arms, shown with the Knoll Piton Side Table, also designed by Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby. Here is the high back Pilot Chair, with upholstered arms, shown with the Knoll Piton Side Table, also designed by Edward Barber & Jay Osgerby.

    The low back Knoll Pilot Chair is very styling in one of the many leather upholstery options. The low back Knoll Pilot Chair is very styling in one of the many leather upholstery options.

    Embodying refinement, comfort, and craftsmanship, the Pilot Chair is unmistakably contemporary but modern in sensibility. It features a cast-aluminum structure that links the crane-neck, 360-degree swivel base to the assembly of the seat and back, creating the impression that the cantilevered seat is almost floating. Embodying refinement, comfort, and craftsmanship, the Pilot Chair is unmistakably contemporary but modern in sensibility. It features a cast-aluminum structure that links the crane-neck, 360-degree swivel base to the assembly of the seat and back, creating the impression that the cantilevered seat is almost floating.

     

    Also designed by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby and taking cues from the aesthetic principles of modernism and pragmatic considerations of the height-adjustable stools manufactured for sewing professionals in the mid-century era, the Knoll Piton Stool and Side Table are equally well suited for industrial tasks and domestic settings.

    The Piton Stool is available in a fixed or height adjustable stool or a side table. It is available in many top and base finishes. They also have an outdoor option. The Piton Stool is available in a fixed or height adjustable stool or a side table. It is available in many top and base finishes. They also have an outdoor option.

    The Piton Stool is a perfect pull-up option or full-time dining chair. The swiveling seat sits atop a cast-aluminum, powder coated base which is a unique reinterpretation of the familiar tripod structure. The Piton Stool is a perfect pull-up option or full-time dining chair. The swiveling seat sits atop a cast-aluminum, powder coated base which is a unique reinterpretation of the familiar tripod structure.

     

    “The pencil is the ultimate tool for the transfer of ideas from mind to paper,” says Edward Barber. In 2011 Barber and Osgerby were appointed to design the London 2012 Olympic Torch. Their research-led practice has developed collections for Knoll, Vitra, B&B Italia, Venini, Cappellini, Magis, Swarovski, Flos and Established & Sons, while also producing special edition furniture and one-off works for both private and public commissions. They are based in London.

    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

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