Pair of Early Florence Knoll Credenza with Cane Sliding Doors For Sale
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Pair of Early Florence Knoll Credenza with Cane Sliding Doors

About

Florence Knoll for Knoll, pair of sideboards, cane, ebonized wood, and metal, United States, 1961. These sideboards are designed by Florence Knoll for Knoll International and were meant for the headquarters of Knoll in Italy. The different sized credenzas are executed with large caned doors with leather handles, an ebonized frame and metal feet. The design of this sideboard is part of the early Florence Knoll designs. Her early designs were in her eyes only practical, functional fill-ins for office spaces. She claimed to use her star designers for the eye-catching pieces and these cabinets were designed because she felt they were necessary to make office spaces function and practical. Nowadays, the modesty and simplicity of these pieces make them timeless and perhaps more suited to the contemporary interior than many of the designs of that same era. Florence Knoll (1917-) was trained as an architect and had a sense of style from a very young age. During her schooltime at Cranbrook, Eliel Saarinen (then the headmaster) and his family included her in their family. In 1936 she met Alvar Aalto and was trained by Marcel Breuer, Walter Gropius and (as if the long list of eminen designers is not long enough) Mies van der Rohe. This meant that although she was barely out of her teens, she was educated by the best of the European modernists. When she arrived in New York she worked on interior projects (being the only female) which is how she came to know Hans Knoll. When Florence joined Knoll, the planning unit started. Florence also made sure that the designs where more 'American Modernist' instead of Scandinavian, When Hans Knoll died she took over and did it with the utmost skill and professionality. Her long list of architect friends designed many famous pieces yet her own imprint on the company including her designs in what can be called 'humanist modernism' is what truly had the greatest impact. Knoll International was founded in New York by the 26 year old German Hans Knoll (1914-1955) in 1938. Hans' father, Walter Knoll was a true modernist and furniture manufacturer who had a reputation for quality. When Hans Knoll died at a young age his wife Florence Knoll took over and under her influence the company flourished and created its best designs. She designed and led the company where she cooperated with talented designers such as Eero Saarinen, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Richard Schultz and Harry Bertoia.  

Details

  • Dimensions
    H 29.34 in. x W 78.75 in. x D 15.75 in.H 74.5 cm x W 200 cm x D 40 cm
  • Seller Location
    Waalwijk, NL
  • Seller Reference Number
    10192_item_10176
  • Sold As
    Set of 2
  • Reference Number
    LU933115350612
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About Florence Knoll (Designer)

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.

About the Seller

4.8 / 5
Vetted
Recognized
Diamond
1stdibs seller since 2012
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Associations:
20th Century Specialists
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