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Florence Knoll

American, 1917-2019

Architect, furniture designer, interior designer, entrepreneur — Florence Knoll had a subtle but profound influence on the course of mid-century American modernism. Dedicated to functionality and organization, and never flamboyant, Knoll shaped the ethos of the postwar business world with her skillfully realized office plans and polished, efficient designs for sofas, credenzas, desks and other furnishings.

Knoll had perhaps the most thorough design education of any of her peers. Florence Schust was orphaned at age 12, and her guardian sent her to Kingswood, a girl’s boarding school that is part of the Cranbrook Educational Community in suburban Detroit. Her interest in design brought her to the attention of Eliel Saarinen, the Finnish architect and head of the Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Saarinen and his wife took the talented child under their wing, and she became close to their son, the future architect Eero Saarinen. While a student at the academy, Florence befriended artist-designer Harry Bertoia and Charles and Ray Eames. Later, she studied under three of the Bauhaus masters who emigrated to the United States. She worked as an apprentice in the Boston architectural offices of Walter Gropius and Marcel Breuer; Ludwig Mies van der Rohe taught her at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

In 1941, she met Hans Knoll, whose eponymous furniture company was just getting off the ground. They married in 1946, and her design sense and his business skills soon made Knoll Inc. a leading firm in its field. Florence signed up the younger Saarinen as a designer, and would develop pieces by Bertoia, Mies and the artist Isamu Noguchi.

Florence Knoll's main work came as head of the Knoll Planning Group, designing custom office interiors for clients such as IBM and CBS. The furniture she created for these spaces reflects her Bauhaus training: the pieces are pure functional design, exactingly built; their only ornament from the materials, such as wood and marble. Her innovations — the oval conference table, for example, conceived as a way to ensure clear sightlines among all seated at a meeting — were always in the service of practicality.

Since her retirement in 1965, Knoll received the National Medal of Arts, among other awards; in 2004 the Philadelphia Museum of Art mounted the exhibition “Florence Knoll: Defining Modern” — well deserved accolades for a strong, successful design and business pioneer. As demonstrated on these pages, the simplicity of Knoll’s furniture is her work’s great virtue: they fit into any interior design scheme.

Find vintage Florence Knoll sofas, benches, armchairs and other furniture on 1stDibs.

Average Sold Price
$4,107
Styles
Materials
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Iconic Designs from Florence Knoll
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
Florence Knoll Sofa
Florence Knoll Sofa
Florence Knoll Lounge Chair
Florence Knoll Lounge Chair
Florence Knoll Bench
Florence Knoll Bench
Relaxed Sofa
Relaxed Sofa
amazing no.26 florence knoll huge 245cm! sofa
By Florence Knoll
Located in Munich, DE
wonderful and all original florence knoll leather sofa. very unusual big size and in very good condition for it´s age.
Category

1960s German Mid-Century Modern Vintage Florence Knoll

Materials

Metal

amazing no.26 florence knoll huge 245cm! sofa
amazing no.26 florence knoll huge 245cm! sofa
H 32.29 in W 96.46 in D 31.5 in
1950s Mid Century Walnut Credenza by Florence Knoll
By Knoll, Florence Knoll
Located in North Hollywood, CA
Mid-century walnut credenza designed by Florence Knoll and manufactured by Knoll Associates Inc. circa 1950s. This exceptional piece showcases a gorgeous walnut frame supported by fo...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Florence Knoll

Materials

Chrome

Florence Knoll Sofa in Patterned Dedar Jacquard Velvet, De Coene, Belgium, 1950s
By Dedar, De Coene Frères, Florence Knoll
Located in The Hague, NL
A rare three-seat sofa designed by Florence Knoll for Knoll International and produced by De Coene in the late 1950s. From 1954 onwards, the renowned Belgian manufacturer De Coene pr...
Category

1950s Belgian Mid-Century Modern Vintage Florence Knoll

Materials

Steel

Pair Blue Fabric VIntage Florence Knoll Parallel Bar Chrome Accent Lounge Chairs
By Florence Knoll
Located in Keego Harbor, MI
A pair of Florence Knoll blue parallel bar accent chairs. A classic set of mid century modern design chairs featuring a beautiful blue fabric upholstery. This classic design features a heavy metal chrome frame with rectangular shapes. The seat sits on an angle that appears to float. Both the seat and the back are one piece featuring a tufted fabric seat. These pieces are in very good condition. They measure 30.5 inches tall, 24.5 inches wide, and 29.5 inches deep. They have a seat...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Florence Knoll

Materials

Chrome

Pair of Lounge Chairs in Leather by Florence Knoll for Knoll International
By Knoll, Florence Knoll
Located in Dronten, NL
Matching pair of Lounge Chairs designed by Florence Knoll in 1954 for Knoll International in the most exclusive vegetal tanned dark brown Spinneybeck leather. Marked with Knoll logo...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Florence Knoll

Materials

Steel, Chrome

iconic florence knoll oval walnut table
By Knoll, Florence Knoll
Located in Munich, DE
timesless and elegant florence knoll table, that can be used as dining table, conference table or desk.
Category

1960s American Vintage Florence Knoll

Materials

Chrome

iconic florence knoll oval walnut table
iconic florence knoll oval walnut table
H 28.35 in W 77.96 in D 47.25 in
Florence Knoll Mid Century Modern Red Fabric Parallel Bar Accent Lounge Chair
By Florence Knoll
Located in Keego Harbor, MI
A Florence Knoll red parallel bar accent chair. A classic mid century modern design chair featuring a beautiful red fabric upholstery. This classic ...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Florence Knoll

Materials

Chrome

Florence Knoll lounge chairs model 65a for Knoll International
By Florence Knoll, Knoll
Located in Langemark-Poelkapelle, BE
Florence Knoll lounge chair from 1956 model 65a. The chair is part of a seating group that consisted of an armchair, 2-seater and 3-seater with or without armrests. This series was p...
Category

Mid-20th Century Unknown Mid-Century Modern Florence Knoll

Materials

Chrome

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Creators Similar to Florence Knoll

More Florence Knoll Designs
Florence Knoll Sofa
Florence Knoll Sofa
Average Price
$8,134
Number Available
17
Florence Knoll Sofa
By Florence Knoll
Materials
Fabric, Metal
Styles
Mid Century Modern
Although Michigan native Florence Knoll (1917–2019) modestly described her furniture as “meat and potatoes” designs that were largely “fill-in pieces” for the Knoll Associates catalog, works like the Florence Knoll sofa demonstrate her artful expression of modern proportions. Introduced in 1954, the sofa was made during the American designer and entrepreneur’s direction of the Knoll Planning Unit, the company’s pioneering “design consultant service” that would define the look of the postwar w...
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Florence Knoll Lounge Chair
Florence Knoll Lounge Chair
Average Price
$6,345
Number Available
15
Florence Knoll Lounge Chair
By Florence Knoll
Materials
Metal, Fabric, Steel
Styles
Mid Century Modern
It doesn’t get more timeless or starkly modern than the boxy chrome-footed Florence Knoll lounge chair.Designed in 1954 by Florence Knoll Bassett (1917–2019) for the legendary furniture manufacturer Knoll Inc. that she helped establish with her husband Hans Knoll, the chair is representative of all her signature gestures, from the sturdy construction to the button tufting, and like the rest of her work, it embodies the very essence of modernism.In many ways, Knoll was destined to become a hou...
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Florence Knoll Bench
Florence Knoll Bench
Average Price
$8,202
Number Available
11
Florence Knoll Bench
By Florence Knoll
Materials
Metal, Steel, Wood, Chrome
Styles
Mid Century Modern
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Relaxed Sofa
Relaxed Sofa
Average Price
$8,475
Number Available
1
Relaxed Sofa
By Florence Knoll
Materials
Fabric
Styles
Modern
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Florence Knoll furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Florence Knoll furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of metal and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Florence Knoll furniture, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original furniture by Florence Knoll were created in the mid-century modern style in north america during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Adrian Pearsall, Harvey Probber, and Craft Associates. Prices for Florence Knoll furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $600 and can go as high as $30,000, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $4,800.
Questions About Florence Knoll
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    Florence Knoll was an architect and furniture designer who greatly influenced mid-century design. She established the furniture company Knoll, Inc., which continues to manufacture pieces inspired by her designs. Knoll died on January 25, 2019, at the age of 101. Find a collection of Florence Knoll furniture on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    To pronounce Florence Knoll, say "FLO-rens Noll." The "K" in the designer's last name is silent. Florence Knoll's maiden name was Florence Marguerite Schust, pronounced "shusht." She changed her name after marrying Hans Knoll in 1946. Find a range of Florence Knoll furniture on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    Florence Knoll lived in the U.S. throughout her life. She was born in Saginaw, Michigan, on May 24, 1917, and she died in Coral Gables, Florida, on January 25, 2019. From 1940 to 1941, she attended the Chicago Armour Institute in Chicago, Illinois. After that, she lived and worked in New York City for many years. On 1stDibs, find a range of Florence Knoll furniture.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    Florence Knoll made a number of well-known furniture designs and founded the company Knoll, Inc. Some of her most acclaimed pieces include the Florence Knoll lounge chair, the Florence Knoll sofa, the Florence Knoll bench and the Florence Knoll settee. Shop a variety of Florence Knoll furniture on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertFebruary 13, 2024
    What Florence Knoll called the Womb chair after it was created is unknown. However, its creator Eero Saarinen stated that Knoll inspired him to make the piece by asking him to design the most comfortable chair ever, saying specifically that she wanted something that felt like "a basket full of pillows." Presented with the challenge, Saarinen went primal. What, the designer figured, better signifies the very essence of comfort than the womb? "It was designed on the theory that a great number of people have never really felt comfortable and secure since they left the womb,” the designer said of his chair. Find a selection of vintage Womb chairs on 1stDibs.
  • 1stDibs ExpertMarch 22, 2022
    No, Florence Knoll didn't usually put a number on her pieces. To identify Florence Knoll furniture, look for a tag or mark that bears the name "Knoll" or "Knoll, Inc." On chairs, the labels are usually on the bottom cushion. On 1stDibs, find a collection of expertly vetted Florence Knoll furniture.

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