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Saturday, April 2, 2011

Florence Knoll Bassett

Born Florence Schust (1917- ) in Michigan and orphaned at age 12, she later became a protegée of Eliel Saarinen at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, as well as a close friend of his son Eero. She also studied at the Architectural Association in London and under Mies van der Rohe at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

After receiving her degree, she moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she worked briefly for Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Wallace K. Harrison. In 1943, she went to work for the Hans J. Knoll Furniture Company, which at that time was a small studio mainly manufacturing pieces by Scandinavian designers. By 1946, she had become a full partner in the firm and married Hans Knoll. Together they formed Knoll Associates and began to focus on International Style Modernism.

Her innovative concept of "total design" resulted in the formation of a "space planning unit," which created cohesive, comprehensive design by encompassing architecture, manufacturing, interior design, textiles, graphics, advertising and presentation. This reinvented Knoll's image and revolutionized the field. Her ideas still remain in practice today.

She acquired the rights to produce Mies van der Rohe´s "Barcelona" group, as well as work from other well-known designers, including Eero Saarinen, Isamu Noguchi, and Harry Bertoia.

She became president of the firm in 1955, when Hans Knoll was killed in a car accident. She retired in 1960, but she is still a consultant. In 1958, she married banker Harry Hood Bassett.

In 2004, the Philadelphia Museum of Art devoted a major exhibit to her life and work.

From and

Florence Knoll bench

Florence Knoll chair

Armless sofa

Oval desk table

Chrome and glass coffee and end tables

Florence Knoll sofa

Maple desk

1 comment:

  1. Just a definitive style maker, thanks for another great lesson 'behind the vintage'.