Florence Knoll: celebrate the life of an icon

We look back on the life of design pioneer Florence Knoll, who has passed away aged 101

Celebrate the life of Florence Knoll

Celebrate the life and works of Florence Knoll and her immeasurable contributions to both interior design and the Modernist movement.

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You’ll possibly have already seen some of Florence Knoll’s glossy and understated furniture designs in stylish offices, department stores and hotels, or indeed in the house of an on-trend friend. Though perhaps you didn’t quite recognise them as the mid-century design classics that they are, as they look just as fashionable today as they did in 1940s America. 

Born in Michigan in 1917, Knoll studied at the Cranbrook Academy of Art and the Illinois Institute of Technology. After graduating, she began to work under her former teacher, architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and was assigned the role of designing ‘project interiors’, an aspect of the design process that her male colleagues frequently ignored.

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Unsurprisingly, she swiftly developed a flair for redesigning office spaces; creating fresh and open areas without clunky furnishings. While working for Van der Rohe, she met her future husband and Knoll founder, Hans Knoll, and the two became a commanding force in corporate design. She joined the company full-time in 1943. Together they developed and created experimental company showrooms allowing clients to fully experience their design concepts.  

A luxury living room set featuring several of Florence Knoll's iconic original designs, including her 'Relax sofa in dark brown 'Venezia' leather and 'Low Table' with lacquer top
A luxury living room set featuring several of Florence Knoll’s original designs, including her ‘Relax sofa in dark brown ‘Venezia’ leather and ‘Low Table’ with lacquer top