Florence Knoll (USA, b. 1917)

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 post-war business world with her polished, efficient design and skillfully realized office plans.

     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. Her main work came as head of the Knoll Planning Group, designing custom office interiors for clients such as IBM and CBS. The furniture Florence 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.

Read more about Florence Knoll in Introspective Magazine.

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Florence Knoll Teak Executive Credenza and Bookcas...
Knoll, Florence Knoll
Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Credenzas
Chrome, Teak
Small executive credenza and the rare form book case in teak with chrome bases by Florence Knoll for Knoll. Both pieces feature finished backs. Cabinet measures 37.25" wide x 17.75" ...
Florence Knoll Walnut Executive Desk for Knoll, 19...
Knoll, Florence Knoll
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Desks and Writing Tables
Steel, Walnut
Extraordinary executive desk designed by Florence Knoll for Knoll in 1961. Chrome-plated steel base, massive walnut top with two drawers on both sides. Good original vintage conditions....
Florence Knoll Square End Table, 1950s
By Florence Knoll, Knoll Associates Inc.
Florence Knoll Square End Table, 1950s
Florence Knoll, Knoll Associates Inc.
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Side Tables
Steel, Maple
An early and Classic end table by Florence Knoll with an 18" square maple top and solid matte steel legs, for Knoll Associates, Inc. Top refinished. Chase Manhattan Bank tag underneath....
Florence Knoll, Pair of Elegant Sideboards with Sl...
Knoll, Florence Knoll
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Sideboards
Leather, Cane, Laminate, Wood
Laminate, wood, cane cover, leather handles, metal.  
Early Florence Knoll Maple and Seagrass Credenza
By Florence Knoll, Knoll Associates Inc.
On Hold
Early Florence Knoll Maple and Seagrass Credenza
Florence Knoll, Knoll Associates Inc.
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Credenzas
Leather, Seagrass, Maple, Steel
A superb model 116 Mid-Century Modern cabinet designed by Florence Knoll for Knoll Associates in 1948. The vintage sideboard or bar features a pair of sliding doors with seagrass fronts...
Set of Four Reupholstered Saarinen Executive Chair...
Eero Saarinen, Florence Knoll
Vintage 1960s Mid-Century Modern Office Chairs and Desk Chairs
Eero Saarinen was one of the most iconic and prolific designers of the 20th century. From the TWA Airport to the Tulip furniture collection, his pieces are immediately recognizable, and...
Rare Four-Seat Florence Knoll Sofa #26
By Florence Knoll, Knoll Associates Inc.
Rare Four-Seat Florence Knoll Sofa #26
Florence Knoll, Knoll Associates Inc.
Vintage 1940s American Modern Sofas
One of Florence Knoll's early designed and custom sized four-seat sofa on tapered stained birch cone legs with down cushions. Upholstered in wool fabric. Retains label with date from fe...
Florence Knoll Nightstands End-Tables, Knoll, 1959...
Florence Knoll
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern End Tables
Walnut
Pair of walnut end tables or nightstands designed by Florence Knoll, circa 1959, manufactured by Knoll. White laminate tops.
Slipper Lounge Chairs by Florence Knoll
Slipper Lounge Chairs by Florence Knoll
Knoll, Florence Knoll
20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs
Fabric, Teak
Pair of tufted slipper lounge chairs by Florence Knoll. Manufactured by Knoll, circa 1955. Solid teak wood frames. Freshly upholstered in Holly Hunt Heritage fabric. We have two pairs a...
Ebonized Walnut Florence Knoll Credenza Media Cabi...
Florence Knoll
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Credenzas
Leather, Chrome, Maple
Early credenza or media cabinet by Florence Knoll features an ebonized walnut body, chrome legs, original leather pulls and sectioned interior: 22.75in w / 5.5in w / 16.5in with adjusta...
Florence Knoll Partners Desk
Florence Knoll Partners Desk
Florence Knoll
Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Desks
Steel, Oak
Florence Knoll for Knoll partners desk, circa mid-1970s. This example has a beautifully grained and newly finished oak top, with two drawers on each side and chrome-plated steel X-base....
Early Florence Knoll Three-Seat "Model 26" Sofa in...
Knoll, Florence Knoll
Vintage 1940s American Mid-Century Modern Sofas
Ultrasuede, Wood
Florence Knoll's name goes hand in hand with all things quintessential mid-century. Montage carries several vintage Florence Knoll 3-Seat sofas however this earlier version of her desig...
Set of Four Eero Saarinen for Florence Knoll Executive Side Chairs
Set of Four Eero Saarinen for Florence Knoll Execu...
Eero Saarinen, Florence Knoll
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Side Chairs
Velvet, Chrome
A set of four newly upholstered executive side chairs by Eero Saarinen, newly upholstered in navy velvet.
Executive Table by Florence Knoll for Knoll #1508
By Florence Knoll, Knoll Associates Inc.
Executive Table by Florence Knoll for Knoll #1508
Florence Knoll, Knoll Associates Inc.
Vintage 1950s American Modern Conference Tables
Chrome, Walnut
Walnut rectangular top on square tubular chrome steel base.
Outstanding Florence Knoll Executive Desk in Mahogany Finished Walnut
Outstanding Florence Knoll Executive Desk in Mahog...
Florence Knoll, Knoll International
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Desks
Walnut
Produced circa 1965 by Knoll International, this desk by Florence Knoll features an all chrome frame with single pedestal and a marvelous finished all-wood top. This desk has been entir...
Beige-Cream Wool Club Chair by Florence Knoll
Beige-Cream Wool Club Chair by Florence Knoll
Knoll, Florence Knoll
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Club Chairs
Steel, Wool
This Florence Knoll club chair maintains its original beige-cream upholstery. It is a fine example of Knoll's modernist designs: smooth, simple lines and planes in service of comfort. T...
Florence Knoll Executive Teak Credenza on Plinth Base 1960
Florence Knoll Executive Teak Credenza on Plinth B...
Florence Knoll, Knoll International
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Cabinets
Teak
Knoll executive office or study credenza in teak with rare plinth base that was available only via special order from Knoll from 1955-1965. This credenza was custom ordered for the of...
Florence Knoll for Knoll International, Dining Roo...
Knoll, Florence Knoll
20th Century Belgian Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Tables
Walnut
This walnut dining room table was designed by Florence Knoll for Knoll International. The table is simple in design with a large surface standing on four tapered feet. The varnish on th...
Florence Knoll Smaller Walnut Credenza
Florence Knoll Smaller Walnut Credenza
Florence Knoll
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Credenzas
A smaller sized Knoll credenza with double sliding doors and leather pulls, inside there are two adjustable shelves in oak all sitting on black metal legs, manufactured by Knoll.
Pair of Florence Knoll Lounge Chairs
By Knoll, Florence Knoll
Pair of Florence Knoll Lounge Chairs
Knoll, Florence Knoll
Vintage 1940s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs
Upholstery, Birch
Early production lounge chairs. Upholstered with new foam in navy blue and white checker weaved fabric. Natural color birch legs. Located in Chicago.
Cabinet by Florence Knoll for Knoll Associates
By Florence Knoll, Knoll Associates Inc.
Cabinet by Florence Knoll for Knoll Associates
Florence Knoll, Knoll Associates Inc.
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Cabinets
Walnut, Lacquer
Knoll Associates, Florence Knoll USA, circa 1952 Quartersawn walnut, lacquer, birch, leather 28 tall x 36 wide and 17.75 inches deep. Designed by Florence Knoll and produced circa 1952...
Florence Knoll Walnut and White Laminate Credenza ...
Florence Knoll, Knoll Associates Inc.
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Credenzas
Leather, Formica, Oak, Walnut
Florence knoll walnut and white formica sideboard credenza Knoll Associates, circa 1955. Designed by Florence Knoll and produced by Knoll Associates in the 1960s, this fine credenza...
Florence Knoll Parallel Bar System Settee
By Knoll, Florence Knoll, Knoll Associates Inc.
Florence Knoll Parallel Bar System Settee
Knoll, Florence Knoll, Knoll Associates Inc.
Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Loveseats
Steel, Upholstery, Chrome
Freshly upholstered in a light gray Knoll fabric. Stylish and beautiful. Designed by Florence Knoll for Knoll. Original Knoll Associates Inc., Park Avenue label, circa 1970. Steel brush...
Florence Knoll for Knoll Associates Parallel Bar System Lounge Chair
By Knoll, Florence Knoll, Knoll Associates Inc.
Florence Knoll for Knoll Associates Parallel Bar S...
Knoll, Florence Knoll, Knoll Associates Inc.
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs
Steel, Upholstery, Chrome
Freshly upholstered in a light gray Knoll fabric. Brushed chrome steel base with black finish. Measure: 24" wide x 30" deep x 30" high x 16" seat height.  
Pair of black leather Florence Knoll Arm Chairs
Pair of black leather Florence Knoll Arm Chairs
Florence Knoll
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs
Steel, Leather
Pair of black leather Florence Knoll model 65A arm chairs with rare original black bases. Designed by Florence Knoll in 1958, discontinued in 1975. Seats are executed with inner spring...
Round Table by Florence Knoll for Knoll
Round Table by Florence Knoll for Knoll
Knoll, Florence Knoll
Vintage 1960s American Modern Dining Room Tables
54" Round wooden top on four star chrome base. Table is in excellent condition.
Knoll Tulip Chairs
By Florence Knoll
Knoll Tulip Chairs
Florence Knoll
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Chairs
Metal, Fiberglass
This set of 10 Florence Knoll dining chairs are in amazingly good condition and have been upholstered in natural black cow hide.
Florence Knoll Adjustable Sofa Daybed
Florence Knoll Adjustable Sofa Daybed
Florence Knoll
20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Sofas
Fabric, Metal
Early Florence Knoll adjustable sofa daybed. The seat portion of the sofa pulls out to convert to daybed. Original Knoll fabric.
Florence Knoll Three-Seat Sofa Black Leather
Florence Knoll
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Sofas
Leather
Three-seat sofa, designed by Florence Knoll for Knoll, black leather, chrome-plated steel frame.  
Florence Knoll Credenza
By Florence Knoll
Florence Knoll Credenza
Florence Knoll
20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Credenzas
Walnut
Florence Knoll credenza with lacquered doors.
Florence Knoll Credenza Made by Knoll Internationa...
Florence Knoll
Vintage 1970s French Mid-Century Modern Credenzas
Marble, Walnut
Florence Knoll credenza made by Knoll International in the 1970s. White marble and walnut veneer. We have not the key.
Mid-Century Knoll Walnut Four-Drawer Dresser Cabinet
By Knoll, Florence Knoll, Knoll International
Mid-Century Knoll Walnut Four-Drawer Dresser Cabin...
Knoll, Florence Knoll, Knoll International
20th Century Mid-Century Modern Dressers
Walnut
Perfect petite Mid-Century Knoll walnut four-drawer dresser cabinet. Designed by Florence Knoll. Classic Knoll piece. Simple yet stylish. Perfect size for and entry or nursery.
Knoll Marble Top Coffee Table Oval
By Eero Saarinen, Florence Knoll
Knoll Marble Top Coffee Table Oval
Eero Saarinen, Florence Knoll
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Metal, Carrara Marble
Eero Saarinen designed this elegant tulip base coffee table for Knoll. The 54" white Carrara marble Top is in excellent condition and original and bares the paper label from 1959.
Florence Knoll Rosewood Executive Table Desk for Knoll
By Florence Knoll, Knoll Associates Inc.
Florence Knoll Rosewood Executive Table Desk for K...
Florence Knoll, Knoll Associates Inc.
Vintage 1960s American American Modern Desks and Writing Tables
Partner's desk in rosewood, purchased in early 1970s. Box top with two small drawers on each side on polished chrome four star pedestal base. Made by Knoll Associates.
Florence Knoll Upholstered King Headboard
By Florence Knoll, Knoll Associates Inc.
Florence Knoll Upholstered King Headboard
Florence Knoll, Knoll Associates Inc.
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Bedroom Furniture
Wool, Walnut
Midcentury King headboard by Florence Knoll for Knoll Associates in a rare upholstered version, 1960s, acquired from a San Francisco Bay Area estate. Original goldenrod wool upholstery....
Florence Knoll Dinning or Conference Table for Knoll
Florence Knoll Dinning or Conference Table for Kno...
Knoll, Florence Knoll
Vintage 1960s American American Modern Dining Room Tables
Classic Florence Knoll design, chrome-plated steel base with cherrywood top. Made by Knoll.
Classic Midcentury Walnut and Chrome Florence Knol...
Knoll, Florence Knoll
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Desks and Writing Tables
Chrome, Walnut
Classic midcentury walnut and chrome Florence Knoll desk features richly grained walnut top chromed steel frame, pencil drawer and file drawer. Retains early Knoll label.
1950s Brown, Leather Pair of Lounge Chairs and Matching Sofa for Knoll
1950s Brown, Leather Pair of Lounge Chairs and Mat...
Florence Knoll, Knoll International
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs
Steel, Leather
Beautiful pair of Florence Knoll lounge chairs comes in brown leather which are in very good original condition and stands on chromium-plated steel base. The matching sofa comes as well...
Pair of Florence Knoll Parallel Bar Lounge Chairs ...
Knoll, Florence Knoll
Vintage 1950s Lounge Chairs
Leather
Produced by Knoll for Lincoln upholstered in spinneybeck leather and only 50 made these are marked and numbered it also comes with the original pamphlet these are in great condition ...
Long Florence Knoll Museum Upholstered Bench
Long Florence Knoll Museum Upholstered Bench
Knoll, Florence Knoll
Vintage 1960s Benches
Fabric, Chrome
Great vintage condition has all its plastic feet label still attached some minor wear to the upholstery no smells. Measure: 9ft.  
Florence Knoll Pair of Dressers or Chests, 1950
Florence Knoll
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Dressers
Pair of early four-drawer chests with white lacquer fronts, designed by Florence Knoll for Knoll, circa 1950.
Florence Knoll Seagrass Credenza Designed for Knol...
Knoll, Florence Knoll
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Credenzas
Metal, Cane, Wood
Florence Knoll for Knoll, cane, black ebonized wood, metal, cane, United States, 1961. This sideboard is designed by Florence Knoll for Knoll International and was designed for the h...
Early Florence Knoll Sofa on Chrome Legs
Early Florence Knoll Sofa on Chrome Legs
Florence Knoll
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Sofas
A early Florence Knoll sofa on chrome legs. Newly reupholstered.
Florence Knoll Walnut and White Lacquer Four-Door ...
Florence Knoll
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Credenzas
Aluminum, Chrome, Oak, Walnut, Lacquer
This credenza is notable for its remarkably well designed sliding door system. The “train-track” allows all doors to close in a flush position, but the end doors to slide in behind the ...
Florence Knoll Executive Chest for Knoll
By Florence Knoll, Knoll International
Florence Knoll Executive Chest for Knoll
Florence Knoll, Knoll International
Vintage 1960s American American Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Iconic Florence Knoll design from the executive line, this teak five-drawer chest is freestanding, raised on chrome steel base. Dated 1972. Model 2542M.
Florence Knoll Leather Settee
By Knoll, Florence Knoll
Florence Knoll Leather Settee
Knoll, Florence Knoll
Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Settees
Leather, Chrome
Two-seat sofa Designed by Florence Knoll for Knoll Reupholstered in leather D 1954 / C 1970s, USA 30 ½” h x 62 ⅝”w x 32” d seat 18" h
Florence Knoll Credenza Sideboard Marble Walnut
Florence Knoll
20th Century German Mid-Century Modern Credenzas
Marble, Walnut
Wonderful Florence Knoll credenza made by Knoll International in the 1970s. Black / white marble (newly polished) and walnut veneer. Very fine condition with only minimal wear.
Florence Knoll for Knoll Boat Shaped Table
Florence Knoll for Knoll Boat Shaped Table
Knoll, Florence Knoll
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Tables
Wood
Florence Knoll for Knoll International, table model 580, in rosewood, United States, 1958-1976. Large dining table with boat shaped top in rosewood. The table can easily seat 12 peop...
Florence Knoll Marble Credenza
Florence Knoll Marble Credenza
Florence Knoll
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Credenzas
Walnut
Calacatta Marble surface, walnut body with inset chrome pulls on a chrome-plated base with adjustable feet.
Florence Knoll Two-Tiered Chrome and Glass Side Ta...
Florence Knoll
Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Side Tables
Stainless Steel, Glass
Two-tiered glass and chrome side table by Florence Knoll.
Pair of T-Angle Side Tables by Florence Knoll
Pair of T-Angle Side Tables by Florence Knoll
Knoll, Florence Knoll
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Side Tables
Pair of side tables with white enamel painted flat metal frame and rosewood top. Made by Knoll Associates.
Pair of 1950s, Florence Knoll Parallel Bar Lounge Chairs "New Upholstery"
Pair of 1950s, Florence Knoll Parallel Bar Lounge ...
Florence Knoll, Knoll International
Vintage 1950s German Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs
Steel, Wool
Beautiful pair of 1950s, Florence Knoll parallel bar lounge chairs, for Knoll International, upholstery and high quality wool fabric renewed, great upholstery-store job, fantastic condi...
T-Angle Coffee Table by Florence Knoll
T-Angle Coffee Table by Florence Knoll
Knoll, Florence Knoll
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Rectangular table with black enamel painted black steel frame and rosewood top. Made by Knoll.
Florence Knoll Loveseat Sofa for Knoll International, 1977
Florence Knoll Loveseat Sofa for Knoll Internation...
Florence Knoll, Knoll International
Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Loveseats
Wool, Chrome
A stunning Mid-Century Modern loveseat sofa designed by Florence Knoll for Knoll International. The loveseat features a polished chrome base and the original multicolored wool upholster...
Pair of 1960s Florence Knoll Lounge Chairs Model 25 BC for Knoll International
Pair of 1960s Florence Knoll Lounge Chairs Model 2...
Florence Knoll, Knoll International
Vintage 1960s Danish Mid-Century Modern Armchairs
Metal, Fabric
Beautiful pair of 1960s lounge chairs, by Florence Knoll, model 25 BC for Knoll Int. with new upholstery and covered with a beautiful high quality light beige linen/cotton fabric.   ...
Florence Knoll Sofa with Side Table
Florence Knoll
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Sofas
Upholstery, Wood, Steel
Florence Knoll sofa in chocolate bouchle fabric with a beautiful walnut side table attached.  
Florence Knoll Sofa in Camel Wool Flannel
Florence Knoll
Early 2000s American Mid-Century Modern Sofas
Chrome, Steel, Wool, Upholstery
The Classic Florence Knoll Sofa; a quintessential piece of midcentury design. This contemporary edition example (2006) is upholstered in a soft Knoll Textiles wool flannel in Camel. Flo...
Florence Knoll Cabinet, Oak and Marble
By Florence Knoll, Knoll International
Florence Knoll Cabinet, Oak and Marble
Florence Knoll, Knoll International
1990s American Modern Cabinets
Steel, Marble, Oak
Oak cabinet with marble top. Cabinet has four shelves and two doors. Cabinet is signed.