FLORENCE KNOLL - AN ICON OF TWENTIETH CENTURY MODERNIST DESIGN.
He is often credited with having revolutionised design history: this is the merit of the colossal work of his company Knoll. Originally from Michigan, Florence Knoll is the daughter of bakers. She knew them for too short a time after their death. She was 12 years old at the time. It was during this period that she became interested in design. Dependent on a guardian, she is enrolled in a boarding school for girls in Michigan. There she became very close to the architect Fliel Saarinen and his son Eero. It was he who later designed the Tulip Chair for her. She was taught by pioneers of design and modern architecture. Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius. Together they will teach her the audacity, method and rigour representing the Bauhaus lessons. After her studies, she moved to New York to start her career at the age of 24. This emblematic name is actually linked to the name of her husband, Hans Knoll, who is a German industrialist who fled the Nazis. It is important to mention this because it was during this period of settling in New York that she fell in love with him. It wasn’t until 1946 that they founded the design company Knoll Associates. They got married the same year. It revolutionised the learning of architecture. For example, the pieces of fabric presented to us as samples come from his invention. Despite the fact that her inspiration is of American origin, she set up production plants in France and Germany for furniture and sofas.
“His hands, with their short, unpainted nails, are the worn hands of a busy and creative person, but the huge loner seems perfectly at ease keeping his emerald wedding ring. She wears other emeralds so casually that she could have been born with them” – Virginia Lee Warren.