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Florence Knoll

Florence Knoll

American designer and architect Florence Knoll (left) was a protégé of Eero Saarinen (right) and was educated at the Cranbrook Academy of Art where she explored furniture making with Saarinen and Charles Eames. After working briefly as an unpaid apprentice with Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius, leading figures of the Bauhaus movement, she attained a BA in architecture in 1941 after studying with Mies van der Rohe.

Working in New York, Florence met and married Hans Knoll, becoming his business partner and forming Knoll Associates in 1946. The combination of Florence's design force and Hans' entrepreneurial flair turned a small furniture company into an international powerhouse, engaging architects such as Saarinen and Breuer, gaining the rights to Mies van der Rohe's famous Barcelona chair and also working with sculptors Isamu Noguchi and Harry Bertoia. She took over as president of the Knoll companies after Hans' death in 1955. Florence Knoll died at the age of 101 in January 2019.

Florence described her own designs as the "meat and potatoes", the filler among the flashier pieces of the Knoll collection, the distinctive features being sleek silhouettes and clear geometries, reflecting her architectural training and interests. They stemmed from the interior design service she created and directed at the Knoll Planning Unit between 1943 and 1965. Her most well-known designs include the Florence Knoll sofa, Credenza and Low Tables all of which form part of the Aram range.

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